Rate your own speakers...honestly!

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Justin_D, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Justin_D

    Justin_D Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 27, 2003
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    I think this could be useful to those of us considering purchases or just curious about other speakers on the market.
    Also, tell what you are amping them with.
    Here we go for me:
    Amp: Onkyo TX-SR501, 65wpc
    Speakers: 5.1 Total

    Fronts: Polk RTi6
    --A massive improvement over the previous line. The new tweaters really make it more lifelike and expand the soundstage. Gunshots in movies sound more lifelike, and other actions are much more directional. The mid-range although still seems a bit recessed, which seems to be the case with Polk speakers. Still, a worthwhile investment, and I'm glad I bought them. The complete opposite of Klipsch's line.

    Center: Polk CSi30
    --Center channels are, in my opinion, where Polk really faulters. Their drivers don't really seem to handle mid-ranges very well. Speach is still clear, but still leaves much to be desired. Apparently, the new CSi3 is better. I'll audition it one day and see.

    Rears: Polk R15
    --These are some small bookshelves! Make great surrounds, but just don't have the depth for fronts. They use the old tweaters also, making them quite poor for multi-channel music, but I don't have an SACD or DVD-A player, so they suit my purpose perfectly.

    Sub: Velodyne CHT-12
    --When I got this, I was happy. But what a difference calibration makes. I am still learning what things are supposed to sound like, and honestly, this is the best sub I have heard. Thats not saying its the best, but that I really have not heard many subs. Now, after calibration, it hits you in the heart with a nice punch during music and much more well defined during films. I am quite happy with it. The extention could be a little bit lower though. If I had a choice, I would have waited longer and bought the CHT-15, but such is life. I still plan to use it for some time.

    So, what about you guys?
  2. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

    Mar 5, 2002
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    Amp: Discount Pioneer. Saving pennies to buy a Marantz sr5400

    Mains: Paradigm Atoms. These are without a doubt the finest speakers I have ever heard. Of course these are the first "quality" speakers I have ever heard. I dislike the non-removable grill.

    Center: Paradigm CC-170. I bought the 170 over the 70 so that I would have matching 5&1/4 driver across the front soundstage. Better than my kenwood HTiB center obviously. I dislike that Paradigm "angled" the drivers so that they are facing at an upward angle. I would have liked a straight-ahead layout and have to prop the back of the CC-170 up with cardboard.

    Subwoofer: RCA 200-watt. I bought this at Radio Shack after my Kenwood HTiB subwoofer died during a LOTR:TFOTR viewing. The sub is louder, but deffinetly boomy. I don't like this subwoofer, but its better than nothing. My new SVS is still on backorder [​IMG]

    Surrounds: The old kenwood HTiB dual 4" driver front speakers. These always sounded pretty bland. So i use them for surrounds untill I can afford some quality speakers.
  3. Robert Cowan

    Robert Cowan Supporting Actor

    Nov 10, 2003
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    ill chime in [​IMG]

    fronts: magnepan 1.6QR's
    center: none (imaged with fronts)
    rears: magnepan SMGc's

    Subwoofer: Deftech Supercube Reference

    Amp: Yamaha RX-V1300 (for today, two rotel 1070's are in mail and should have been here today).

    I would easily give my fronts a 9/10. they arent a 10 because they are big and lack bass on their own. however, they sound full enough and what bass they do have blends well with a sub so they dont sound lean. they can produce an image that is scary. and ive often stopped movies or music because i thought something was real (like a door opening, something dropping, etc..) their soundstage is endless, going feet beyond the speakers in all directions.

    The rears are pretty new to me, but blend well with the fronts, and give a realistic image in back. not really much to say for a rear that is timbre matched and full range.

    the sub fills in where the speakers stop, and does a great job. the speakers have LARGE diaphrams, so they produce a LOT of sound. smaller subs have a problem filling in all the bass that is needed. the supercube does a great job. to my knowledge, this sub hasnt had an online review yet. its the smaller one thats getting some crappy reviews. this one got a 99/100 from sound and vision (i think it was them). it all comes together pretty well.

    however, the yamaha is in much need of upgrade. at -15 to -20dB, it stops getting louder. since the speakers are 84dB sensitive at 4ohm, they such juice. with anything less than 300 watts per channel, they can sound underpowered. so, the next step is to get the rotels running, and get a few more amps for the fronts. (the rotels are rated at 200/channel @ 4ohms and will be used to bi-amp the rears, having 400 watts per channel for rears). then the fronts will be bi-amped as well. but, even with these downsides, the speakers are amazing.

    overall performance of everything, 80/100. with more amps, maybe closer to 90.
  4. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Sep 30, 2001
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    Okie Dokie I will play too..

    Front L/R: Acoustic Research Hi-Res AR9 Tower
    Center: Acoustic Research Hi-Res AR4C
    Surround L/R: Acoustic Research Performance Series 216 Bookshelf
    Subwoofer: DIY Sealed Enclosure, Stryke Audio AV12, Acoustic Research / Bob Carver Sunfire TDC 500 WRMS Amp

    Pre(s): Parasound Halo P3, Onkyo TX-DS787 (Receiver)
    Amp(s): Onkyo M282, Antique Sound Labs Wave20DT Tube Monoblocks

    My mains have dedicated dual 10" Bass Reflex passive subs
    that I did use for the longest time but now the sub section
    has been left unconnected and I just drive the dual 5.25"
    Magnesium Mids and the 1" Titanium Tweeters and let my DIY
    Sub handle the lows.

    My AR9's and the matching AR4C have been a great purchase.
    They sound as good today as they did when I bought them
    which was more than 3 years ago. They have a very natural
    way of reproducing vocals and stringed instruments and never
    have a hint of sybilance. The tweeters are not bright in the
    least which is suprising for Titanium domes.

    I would rate them and the center as 8 out of 10 because like
    anything they can be improved upon. The biggest complaint is
    the vinyl finish as real veneer would have been much more
    high end [​IMG]

    They are being replaced with DIY Line Array's which when
    completed will stand more than seven and a half feet tall.
    Nothing short of a Line Array or a full Ribbon or Electrostatic
    is going to send me over the edge at this point.. Another
    point source would only have been marginaly better to my
  5. Shawn Shultzaberger

    Shawn Shultzaberger Supporting Actor

    Dec 2, 2000
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    I'll give it a go also.

    - Fronts: Klipsch KM-4's (1" polymer dome compression driver tweeter and 8" ICG cone woofer)

    - Center: Klipsch KM-C (1" polymer dome compression driver tweeter and two 5.25" ICG cone woofers)

    - Rears: Klipsch KM-2 (1" polymer dome compression driver tweeter and 6.5" ICG cone woofer)

    - Subs: Dual SVS 25-31CS modded to 22Hz.

    - Sub Amp: Samson 700w

    Reciver: Outlaw 1050 65w x 5ch / crossover set at 80Hz

    I like this setup except for one thing. The KM-4's just don't have the bass response that I'd like. No I don't expect bass from them like the SVS's but they just seem to be lacking in the low frequency department. If pushed almost up against the wall they do a little better but if you must keep them atleast 6" away from the wall the bass definitely drops off. As for the highs they are crystal clear. For me they don't seem bright at all even when using the Outlaw 1050 receiver. One example is a song on one of my Telarc DDD Clasical CD's where there is a lone triangle in a symphony that is struck and it comes out so pure and clean like he was standing in the room. There was no sign of compression or "dirtyness" of the note.

    The KM-C center was maybe a poor choice on my part because it doesn't seem to be matched very well in tonal or timbre quality to the KM-4's. It's close but not perfect. It seems to add a little something to the voices that I don't like. Kind of muddy but not quite. It's hard to describe.

    The KM-2's do really well as the rear surrounds. They sound well defined and clear. I've never used them as anything else but surrounds so I couldn't speculate on how well they do with a particular type of music although they do sound good when using the DVD-A portion of my Panny RP91.

    What can I say about the SVS 25-31CS's that hasn't already been said. I have 4500 cu.ft. of space to fill and they do it with headroom to spare. [​IMG] Never muddy, never boomy but always goosebump inducing.
  6. John S

    John S Producer

    Nov 4, 2003
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    Original JBL S38's all the way around, powered from a Denon 4802. (125w per channel?)

    Ooops I guess I did not rate them.

    On a 1 to 10 scale reguardless of price, I'd give them an 8.8. Or Two thumbs up and a twist... lol

    A little higher on Music, maybe a 9, and a little lower on HT maybe an 8.5.
  7. SeannO

    SeannO Auditioning

    Dec 27, 2000
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    Here's my self review:

    Receiver: Denon 3802
    Mains: Boston Acoustics VR-M50
    Center: Boston Acoustics VR-MC
    Rears: Boston Acoustics VR-MX
    Sub: None yet

    VR-M50: Smallest speaker in the VR-M line. 1" anodized aluminum dome tweeter. 5.25" copolymer woofer. These are very detailed, especially in the high frequencies. They sound natural and slightly on the bright side, but not fatiguingly so. Excellent for both music and HT, although the deep base is lacking, obviously. If I had another $300, I may have purchased the bigger M60, which goes a little deeper and has slightly better imaging. Overall I'd give these an 9/10 for sound and 7/10 for price, considering the size and expectations.

    VR-MC: Same drivers as the M50 but with an added passive 5.25" copolymer woofer. I think this also sounds great and has a little better imaging than the M50. Pretty much the same as above, except this is Boston's only center in their VR-M line. This as well as the M50 has dual gold-plated 5-way binding posts for bi-amping/wiring. I would give it the same grades as the M50.

    VR-MX: These surrounds are made to be side surrounds, but can be mounted on the ceiling or rear wall, although I would get the VR-M/EX for the rear wall. These have dual 1" aluminum tweeters and dual 5.25" copolymer woofers, although one is passive. This allows you to orient the speakers so they are direct radiating or diffuse. I have switched them many times depending on audio material. These speakers are fantastic with any material. I'd also give these a 9/10 and 7/10.

    All these speakers are very pleasing to look at. They have the cherry wood finish, either veneer or real wood. I give these speakers a 9/10 for sound across the board. They are the best speakers to my ears that I have listened to in there size categories, which is not all encompassing. However, they are pricey, which is why I gave them a 7/10 for price. You get what you pay for and they are worth every penny. Even my wife, who originally wanted Bose, likes them.
  8. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

    Mar 21, 2000
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    Why not [​IMG]

    Fronts: Magnepan 1.6
    Center: Magnepan CC3
    Rears : Magnepan MMG
    Sub: Waiting on SVS PS+ but currently using a Vel 12"

    Using a Kenwood 5900 as prepro with a Sunfire Cinema Amp. 200 into 8ohm, 400 into 4ohm.

    The detail and power of these speakers is truely amazing and you have to hear them to believe it.

    The 1.6's and CC3 are a formidable set that bring out details I have never heard before. I was very surprised at the amount of bass they put out, these move a lot of air. It isn't deep bass though but powerful to about 40hrz.

    The 1.6 are almost 6' high so you have to have the setup for them.

    if you have't heard a maggie you owe it too yourself to hear them. They are not for everyone but they must be heard.
  9. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

    Feb 26, 2002
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    Hmmmmm.....at first I thought this thread would not work but I honestly hope it does now because if people are honest it can be EXTEMELY beneficial to everyone.....with that said:

    I have Boston Acoustic Vr3 fronts: I really like these speakers a lot. They have a anodized aluminum dome tweeter, one 4 1/2" mid and two 7 1/2" bass drivers. The bass is very detailed and can keep up. The mid does an adequate job as well. I think the best part id that Boston tweeter. It really sings at those high notes without getting thin and fatiguing. The speakers come in black ash veneer or a cherry veneer. I have the cherry and it really looks like the real deal. For value I would rate them 10/10 (a lot of speaker for the $). for sound maybe an 8 1/2 /10. (no speaker is a 10...lets be honest [​IMG])

    Center -Boston vr920: the thing is a beast aluminum tweeter, one 3 1/2" mid and two eliptical 7 1/2x5" bass drivers. This speaker is very clear and detailed. I hear sounds that I never knew exhisted. The dass is very clean and tight. The mid-range can get a bit thin sounding but not overly so. Value 8/10 (I got a great deal though) Sound 8/10 (thin mids at times). (For all of those who have been reading my other threads I have decided to keep the 920 over the VRC)

    Surrounds- Boston Micro 90II: Aluminum tweeter and 3 1/2" mid/bass driver. These little guys actually amaze me. They weigh a ton as it is almost solid aluminum. The sound for a surround channel is very adequate. No it will not go low and may not suffice for SACD but for HT they are very good. For build quality, I have NEVER seen a better built satelite speaker. Value 10/10 (a lot of speaker crammed into a little case) Sound-8/10 (will not go low but what it can handle is crystal clear and well defined.

    Everything is powered by a Yamaha Rx-v2200. It may be a few years old and doesn't have all the "new" thingy's but it really does a great job with the detail and dynamics. Eventualy I would like to add an amp to power the fronts.....but that won't be for a looooooong time [​IMG].

    I hope this helps anyone looking at Boston. Excellent idea Justin to start this thread. Hopefully people stay honest....I think that is the key to make this a very successful thread. It is certainly looking like it will thus far.
  10. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

    Dec 18, 2000
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    How does one rate their own system? Far and away mine is an excellent one for HT (would rate it at 9.25) but not so much for music (closer to 8.75). It consists of:

    nOrh wood 5.1 mains - Goes deeper than the 4.0s with a hint of warmness to them. Gorgeous to look at. [​IMG]

    nOrh ceramic 4.0 center - Matches the 5.1s. Downside is the size of the speaker but, as it rests on top of the tv, that isn't a problem. Perfect transition speaker for the 5.1s with its clear dialog.

    nOrh ceramic 4.0 surrounds - Matches center and mains. Surround sound is fantastic!

    SVS 20-39CS - Need I say more? [​IMG] Powered by the Samson S700.

    Outlaw 1050 - Clean, powerful receiver. Downside is it doesn't have DPL2 but, then again, that wasn't advertised with it now, was it? Adjustable crossover is generally set at 80Hz.

    nOrh Le Amps - Using with the mains. Cleaned up the sound a bit more. Improvements: DIY power cables and upgraded interconnects.

    All that is a vast improvement over what I had before. Wharfedale Valdus 500 mains, Valdus center, DCM surrounds, Audiosource sub, and a JVC RX-8000V receiver.
  11. Justin_D

    Justin_D Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 27, 2003
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    WOW! Quite a variety of speakers! Keep 'em coming ladays and fellahs! [​IMG]
  12. James_R

    James_R Auditioning

    Jan 11, 2004
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    Receiver Onkyo 601
    Axiom M22tis
    Axiom VP100
    Dayton 10" from Partsexpress.com (do a search here it's great and cheap!)
    Axiom QS8s .

    I live in a studio in an apartment building, so I don't need a lot of loudness (nor want to be evicted), but I did want (and very much got) quality sound at a lower volume with this setup. Plus it will be great when I move to a larger space. The surround field for HT is stupid wonderful. A bit more bass would be nice from the M22s but once I had them dialed in well with my sub I was very happy to kick back and let my music drain away my daily stresses.
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Jun 24, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Power: Marantz SR8300 (125w@8Ohms) w/ one MA500 mono (180w@4Ohms) powering my center.

    Driving: Three GR Research A/V-2s up front and two Paradigm Titans out back (eventually to be replaced, but doing fine for now). The A/V-2s are 4 Ohm, so to be comfortable with them (the 8300 is not rated for 4 Ohm operation), I picked up the MA500 to offload some of the work.

    Here is my write up of the speakers prior to buying them. Since getting them, I have done the Sonicap upgrade, as well as installed the new version of tweeters. Still extremely pleased with them.

    I'd give the A/V-2s a 9.5/10 - Cabinets are solid and attractive, but aren't artwork like Paradigm Signatures or B&W Nautilus (and you aren't paying for it either), but they are all about sounding great at an amazing price. I have heard better speakers, but it's really tough to compare when it comes to price vs performance.

    HSU VTF-2 - 8/10 Big sound from a small box, and more than I need, but not an SVS [​IMG]

    System 2

    Mordaunt Short MS902s powered by a Marantz PM7000 (95x2@8Ohms) biwired with Audioquest Type 4 wire.

    902s - 9/10 - a pretty amazing and relatively unknown speaker, and considering what I paid for them, I am extremely pleased with them. Decent bass, articulate, uncolored mids and clean highs (1st order x-overs). They don't have quite enough oomph to be run as mains in my HT, but in my bedroom they are more than capable.
  14. Shad R

    Shad R Supporting Actor

    Oct 8, 2001
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    here goes...

    center: Klipsh (not sure what model. dual 6 1/5 woofs and allum. dome tweeter)
    fronts: Cerwin Vegas(roommates. i'm waiting to upgrade to the matching Klipsh fronts)
    surround: Boston Acoustics reference series bookshelves
    subwoofer: Def Tech 15tl+ (15 inch)
    reciever: Onkyo TXds555 (75x5, no dts)
    I give my center a 8/10. There are better ones out there, to be sure, but not for the price. I paid $300 total. It sounds great! Clear highs, deep vocals, i love it. My (roomies) fronts work good as stand alones, but sounds crappy compared to the Klipsh. I give the CV's a 5/10. When I upgrade it will sound better. Surrounds do their job..nuff said. 8/10 My subwoofer rocks. I can feel the pounding and deep bass. It's awesome. 9/10
  15. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

    May 6, 2003
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    Magneplanar MGMC1 (or C1..seems to be the same thing) for fronts and rears. CC3 center channel. Hsu Research VTF-2 subwoofer. Rotel 1055 receiver/amplifier (85 true watts per channel) sends this package into 5.1 bliss. The imaging is amazing for my small room of 12 feet wide X 19 feet high X 8.1 feet tall. Dialog is EXACTLY right. Absolutely dig the warm and all encompassing sound that's NEVER artificial. Stereo is fantastic in 2.1 setting. Doug H dude, you should consider the HSU VTF-3 or even the VTF-2.

    MCMC1 - 9/10
    CC3 - 9/10
    Rotel 1055 - 9/10
    VTF-2 - 9.5/10


    Chester II

    p.s. 12 guage copper cable for speaker wires.......
  16. Lee M T

    Lee M T Second Unit

    Nov 28, 2002
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    Yamaha RX-V640 (85 watts x 6)

    Actual Price: $499
    Price Paid: $439

    Mirage Omni 60

    Actual Price: $599/pair
    Price Paid: $299/pair [​IMG]

    The 60's are my left and right mains. I bought them in November 2003. I broke them in about 10 hours with pink noise before I really started listening to them. I found them a bit cloudy in the midrange at first. But given another week or so of casual listening, they really began to open up. Unfortunately, my room calls for not much breathing room for the speakers. So I feel they are definitely hindered by that fact, but nevertheless, they do a stellar job. The soundstage is huge and no matter how off center I am, the sound really doesn't change much. I previously had CV floorstanders and then Infinity Sterling Series bookshelves. The improvement over the CV's is tremendous. So much cleaner and articulate. Soundstage is much wider as well. The bass impact is remarkably close to my CV's which had 10" woofers. I'm not even joking. They aren't a huge improvement over my Infinity's, but there are some noticable differences. For $300 for the pair, there's no question I did the right thing. At $600 there definitely would have been a much stiffer competition for my loudspeaker of choice. But I'd like to not think of that headache. [​IMG]

    Mirage Omni CC

    Actual Price: $399
    Price Paid: $349

    Wow! I love the look of this thing. Unfortunately, when I first hooked it up I didn't break it in first. Man, did it sound like crap. The main problem was a midrange laden with bass. Man it did not sound good. I almost got upset at first, but I immediately ran to my receiver and threw on some pink noise. I let that marinate for about 12 hours and then started to do some casual listening. Now things are getting nice. After about a week or so of casual listening, I blew 'em wide open and was very impressed with such a full sound. This is my first taste of sound with more than a left and right speaker. The tonality between the three front speakers is great. I don't hear any changes from one to the other. The speakers also compliment each other very well in volume as well. I don't notice the center or the mains more than the other. I'm just very pleased.

    That completes my system thus far. I couldn't be happier right now. I mainly use my system for video games and these speakers really shine. Metal Gear Solid 2 sounds incredible.

    Next on my agenda:

    Subwoofer (SVS of some kind)
    Rears (Mirage Omni FX)
  17. dougW

    dougW Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 14, 2000
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    Ok, it's time for the Italian Stallion. No, not me, I'm scottish by ancestry. My speakers dumbo!

    Sonus faber Extrema mains, Solo center, Concerto sides, and Concerto Grand Piano rears. Aerial SW-12 Subwoofer. Extremas powered by Mark Levinson 336 (700 watts X 2 @ 4 ohms). All other speakers powered by Proceed AMP5, 125 watts @ 8 ohms. Aerial powered by it's own 400 watt internal amplifier. All cables by CATCables, and Quantum Cable, my brands.

    My system's sound is excellento! Silky smooth highs brought to me by soft dome tweeters, outstanding mid-range produced by primarily 1st order crossovers. The Crossover on the Extremas is a 2 kHz first order 6dB/octave, a special high-pass inductive type without capacitors.

    The overall sound has depth, it has warmth, a full rich sound for theater and music. It's not a cheap package by any means. But I truly plan to enjoy this package for a long long time. So, the investment in the end will have been worth it.

  18. Neal_C

    Neal_C Second Unit

    Mar 15, 2001
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    I do very little critical music listening, so my setup is all about home theater. Not that music doesn't sound good, I'm just not into it near as much as the home theater side.

    Def. Tech BP2002tl mains
    Def. Tech CLR2002
    Def. Tech BP2X surrounds
    SVS PB2+

    Rotel RMB 1075 (125w X 5)

    I have to give my Def. Tech setup a 9/10 overall. The knock comes in musical performance because they aren't the most musical speakers I have ever heard, but they get the job done for me. And since home theater is what I enjoy, I love the Def. Techs.

    The sub, well, there isn't anything to say about the PB2+ that hasn't been said again and again. It is easily the best sub under 2k.

  19. Greg-ST

    Greg-ST Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 27, 2003
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    Relatively lowend setup (good for my 10"x12"x7.5" room though)....

    Receiver: Kenwood VR-615
    Mains and rears: JBL N24II's
    Center: JBL N-CenterII
    Sub: Dayton Tiny Mity II (famous 10" PE sub)

    IMO my system sounds really great. Movies are really brought to life with crisp and clear sound, plenty of impact, and a lot of depth. The N24II's are quite dynamic for what they are. 2.1 music also sounds really good with them despite what some may say. The N-CenterII sounds just as good as the N24II's (maybe has slightly less impact since the center isn't ported on the front). Dialog in movies is superb and very full no matter what pitch of voice. Imaging between all the speakers is seamless. With off-axis listening (which I often am at) there is no degradation in highend detail (the EOS waveguides on the tweeters actually do help), just the expected slight volume decrease. Overall these JBL's are excellent performers, especially for the money.

    Most already know about the Dayton sub, so it should come as no surprise that it's impressive. It's tight, and goes low and loud. It's rolloff point is somewhere between 25Hz and 30Hz, but material down to about 20Hz can still be enjoyed to some degree. I'm very glad I purchased this sub to replace my Kenwood 8" 100 watt [​IMG]

    You gotta know you have a good system for yourself when you're still impressed by it after a lot of use. I know I am. The JBL's can still bring a smile to my face [​IMG] The sub produces a nice grin [​IMG]

    I think my next purchase is going to be a new receiver. I'm feeling that my JBL's want more power (or at least cleaner power). I've been doing some research and I'm likely to go for something from Yamaha or Onkyo. Any suggestions would be welcome for something in the $300-$400 price range (maybe a little less if possible.. refurbished perhaps..)
  20. Justin_D

    Justin_D Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 27, 2003
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    Lee, I can see that you have some pretty nice speakers. Our receivers, as far as power go, are more or less the same. Do you feel that your feeding those enough juice? I'm pondering a new receiver (or maybe separates) sometime in the future, and I'm wondering if I should postpone it.

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