on the fence with speakers...advise me !

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Yevin, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. David Yevin

    David Yevin Agent

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    ok,
    just got my h/k avr520 and now it's speaker time [​IMG]
    i've narrowed things down a bit, but i'm still not completey decided.
    setup 1.
    htd level III towers
    htd level III center
    htd level III mains
    sub to be named later - svs 25-31 pci or hsu vtf-2
    setup 2. - ascend #22-2001
    5 cbm-170's all around
    hsu vtf-2 sub
    setup 3. -
    jbl s310's, s36's or s38's
    jbl s center
    jbl s26 or s36's
    svs or hsu sub
    usage will be around 50/50 music/movies. i am leaning towards the htd setup mainly because i like floorstanding speakers for 2 channel stereo listening and won't be getting a sub until probably jan. or feb. i also have some sort of mental block to using bookshelf's and a sub for stereo listening. don't ask because i don't know either, i've just always been a floorstanding kind of person.
    i've read equally good things about both the htd and ascend setups for both music and movies at my price point - $1200 - $1500.00, and the jbl's have always kind of been in the picture. i can also listen to the jbl's locally.
    with either the htd or ascend setups i'm obviously buying blind, but do have the 30 day return policy. ideally i guess i should order the htd and ascend systems and return what i don't like as much, but that's a bigger chunk of change initally out of pocket than i'm comfortable with right now...
    anything i should be asking myself to better narrow things down?
    whew, was that enough? [​IMG]
     
  2. Jonathan K

    Jonathan K Stunt Coordinator

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    What about a Rocket setup from av123.com? I'm sure you could get something nice for $1500... especially if you wait for their sub to come out, they'd give you a nice package price, probably...

    Hopefully (I dunno, i'd have to ask sean...)

    Rocket RS250 Mains
    Rocket RSC100 Center
    Rocket RS150 surrounds
    Rocket ELT-1 Sub*

    Maybe a hair over $1500??

    *Coming out in november

    How about also adding axiom audio to that list? Going through their wizard was fun for me... with your preferences, I ended up with...

    M50 front
    VP100 center
    QS4 surround
    and their $500 sub, but we can change that...

    Remember, Axiom *does* have a factory outlet section as well, heh.... but from what I have heard (hearsay...), I would think the rocket setup I mentioned would probably outdo the axiom setup in terms of sound quality from the speakers *themselves*.. though you are spending less on the sub with the rocket setup I mentioned... and you also aren't getting towers up front if you go with the Rocket setup...

    Personally, I would go with what I think is a more well-rounded approach, ie, the rocket system... but then again, I'm not as partial to floorstanders as you seem to be, and I have a, erm, bit more brand loyalty to av123 than to axiom...
     
  3. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I'm a big fan of the JBL S38 which is why I'd go for the JBL setup.
    The S38 sound is impressive and comparable to speakers costing much more. My only quirks would be the slightly bright sound of the tweeter and slightly coarse high vocals. The overall sound is a pinch muffled compared to some high end stuff but the sound quality is close to even some DIY speakers. I can put my AV3 floorstand on the left and an S38 bookshelf on the right and the quality doesn't sound off balance. It takes some critical listening and hand choice of music to be able to easily tell them apart which says a lot for the S38.
    Of course now that I've said my review you'll probably focus more on the negative. [​IMG]
     
  4. dave alan

    dave alan Second Unit

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    i also think the jbl s series is a great value. i use the itu standard setup and have 4 s312's and s center (with a small sub to make it 'large'). i have a good sub. i listen mostly to sacd multichannel music, and will be adding dvd-a soon. the setup is also good for HT.

    bookshelfs just don't cut it for sacd/dvd-a. i hesitated to buy the jbl's because the price seemed too low for them to be any good at all.

    i'm using the outlaw 950 and big monoblock amps. a very revealing and detailed system. i think the jbl's are excellent. i gave my custom dynaudio 3 ways to a family member as i am building new speakers. the s series are more efficient and very clean. don't get me wrong, the dynaudios are superb, i am just pleasantly surprised by the sound of the jbl's for the money.

    fwiw, i think stereo 16 bit cds are not a good way to judge any speaker as they are harsh generally, simply by the limitations of the format.

    i recommend jbl s. i suggest the 310's if you plan to listen to sacd/dvd-a. either way you decide to go...good listening!
     
  5. Jonathan K

    Jonathan K Stunt Coordinator

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    Have people on this forum compared these JBL's to comparatively priced setups from intenret-direct places like Axiom, Norh, or Onix?
     
  6. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    "fwiw, i think stereo 16 bit cds are not a good way to judge any speaker as they are harsh generally, simply by the limitations of the format."
    But that's all the music I have other than my 2 gigs of MP3. [​IMG] What good is a loudspeaker if it only sounds good with the rare formats?
    I've compared them to $2,000 floorstanding speakers, you can read my review if you do a search for "(S38)"
     
  7. Ben_wood

    Ben_wood Stunt Coordinator

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    David, my vote would be for option #2. I have an Ascend Acoustics system (4 CBM-170s, an HTM-200 center, and a VTF-2 sub) and it's a real pleasure to listen to both music and HT with it. The folks at Ascend put every effort towards satisfying their customers, you won't be disappointed with either their products or service!
     
  8. Jeff Hoak

    Jeff Hoak Stunt Coordinator

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    Another JBL fan here. I have S38's for fronts, S36's for surrounds, S-Center's for center and rear (a 6.1 setup) and a S120II filling in the bass. They're being driven by an Outlaw 950 pre/pro feeding a Rotel 991 (200X2) amp for the mains and a Marantz MM9000 (150X5) amp for everything else.

    The choice of the S38's was dictated by a need to place the fronts in an entertainment center. Not ideal I know. I would have preferred a pair of floor standets like the 310's but the decorator had other things in mind.

    I am VERY happy with the way this system sounds. I get very consistant compliments even from couple of audiosnobs... ooops I mean audiophiles that I know. Of course they'd like the system a LOT better if I had a this or that tube amp and a set of them or the other platinum coated silver cables all costing more than my car did. Let's just say that I don't have that kind of extra cash to dole out for audio equipment no matter HOW good it sounds.

    For the money it's VERY hard to beat a JBL setup.
     
  9. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    If I were you with your budget, here is how I would section it off:
    Mains~$500-600
    You Can choose from B&W, Def Tech, Onix, Norh, Paradigm, JBL, etc. etc. I would advise you to buy used, as you can get some great deals on great speakers that are already broken in. The mains are where most of the action in HT, and where all the information in music listening, is coming from, so they are the most important part of your 5 channel setup. Also, with concerns to buying used, speakers, unlike other audio equipment, are relatively inexpensive to fix, as most of the time the only thing you have to fix/replace is/are the driver(s), and these usually only cost a fraction of the price of the speakers.
    Center~$200
    Get a good, open, clear center channel that has extension down to at least about 70hz to get the real gusto of all the dialogue.
    Surrounds~$300
    With surrounds, just try to get speakers that will faithfully produce sounds from about 80Hz and up. With the surrounds, most of the information that they send out is echo/atmosphere, and the occasional flying bullet and background information, so you dont want them to overshadow the front soundstage, but at the same time you want them to be as accurate as possible, with regards to the signal being fed.
    Subwoofer~$400
    Two real option. HSU VTF2 or Adire Rava. Both great subs, hard to decide b/w the two.
    Of course, if you are willing to put in the work, DIY and speaker kits will provide you with far superior sound, up to the point where your DIY/KIT setup will have the sound of a setup twice the price. You can always look into this.
     
  10. Ryan Libby

    Ryan Libby Stunt Coordinator

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    You may know this already but some Best Buys have most of their jbl stuff at half price. Four s38's are $500. Hope everything works out well for you.
     

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