recommendations: $1000-1500 5.1 setup

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ian Montgomerie, Feb 3, 2002.

  1. Ian Montgomerie

    Ian Montgomerie Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi guys, I'm new to this forum and looking to set up my first surround sound system. Budget roughly $1500. I'm a young guy living with roommates, and this would be for my 14x17 bedroom. I will probably hook them up to a Denon 1802 receiver.

    It is important that the setup be good for DPLII music and TV, more so than strictly DVD playback (also they will be used for computer games). One of my concerns is good, off-axis, "fill the room" sound because I can't really fit my TV-viewing and computer-using positions all within a narrow sweet spot (and I'd also like to listen to music while lying on my bed and such).

    Speakers I am considering (not including sub):

    5 x nOrh 4.0 (black ceramic, $850?)

    2 x nOrh 5.1, 3 x nOrh 4.0 (black ceramic, $950?)

    HTD Level III (4 mains and center, $540)

    HTD Level III (2 tower, 2 mains, center $770)

    Aperion Audio 5.1 (950)

    Questions:

    If anyone has used the nOrh speakers here, how are they for space? The dimensions say they are a foot and a half long, and if they're rear-firing probably this means the surrounds would take up a fair bit of space in the rear corners. Also, would having 5.1 mains make a substantial improvement to the overall sound? (I am assuming I can get the package deals with ceramic as well as wood since some people on the web seem to report doing so, and I've read that the ceramics sound better)

    What kind of stand works well with nOrhs, where would one get that sort of thing?

    The Aperion's got a good review from cheaphometheatre.com, they were compared to the nOrhs in everything but off-axis sound and are smaller (though pricier). Has anyone used/compared them?

    How would the cheap HTD III system compare to these? I know it wouldn't be quite as good, but it's also a fair bit cheaper. What are the feelings about this?

    And then, there's the sub issue...

    I know that I basically couldn't go wrong by buying an HSU-VTF2, the cheaper SVS sub, or the 12" sub with the Aperions. These are 500+ dollar options though, which might be a bit wasted since I'm wary of pissing people off with huge bass (and BOOM-BOOM home theatre isn't my main application). Also the room is 14x17, I have been told that really low frequencies will probably be pretty muted in it anyway since the long sound waves will reflect back and forth and cancel each other out. So how would the following options look?

    - Get the 8" sub with the Aperions (300 bucks of 5.1 package)

    - Get the 12" HTD Level III sub for 270 dollars

    - Get the 12" Sony SA-WM40 sub for 150-200 dollars

    Are there other good recommendations for a sub in the 200-300 dollar range? What would be a good sub to mate to the nOrh speakers for a small room?

    Thanks guys!

    (By the way this is my first post. I'm a system software engineer for the ZiVA5 DVD processor, working at what used to be C-Cube Microsystems and is now LSI Logic Broadband Entertainment Division. I live in San Jose, and have never had a good home speaker setup, but have wanted one for a while and now I have some spare cash).
     
  2. Terry Flink

    Terry Flink Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought the ceramic 4.0 video package last year. I originally ordered the 5.1 video package in wood, but reconsidered when I heard how fantastic the creamic 4.0s are. I have an SVS 20-39CS so bass was not an issue and the 4.0's blend seamlessly with the sub. The left and right speakers sit on ceramic stands originally intended for plants (I think???) and the center sits a top my Sony 36" XBR with a 8x10 board to support the feet. The rears are conveniently placed on the kitchen counter and the stairs as I live in a relatively small loft condo.

    I had an Adcom 2ch amp sitting around doing nothing so I got the SVS 20-39CS and the whole 5.1 setup was less than $1500.00. I am very very pleased with the ceramic 4.0's. The detail and imaging are fantastic. The sound stage is deep and well defined with a huge sweet spot.

    The best upgrade on my system to date....highly recommended.
     
  3. Terry Flink

    Terry Flink Stunt Coordinator

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    BTW..the 5.1s are not available in ceramic. The nOhrs seem to do everything well. There are a number of online reviews at the nOhr website. If you have a sub for bass, the 4.0s are preferable to the 5.1s...IMHO
     
  4. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    I own a set of Home Theater Direct Level III speakers (two pairs of bookshelves and a center channel). I have also heard a great deal of the nOrh 4.0s on a friend's system. Overall, the nOrhs sound better than the HTDs. Whereas the HTDs present a rich, warm sound, the nOrhs have a bit more clairity and present a better soundfield. That's not to say that the HTDs don't sound good. They sound very good indeed and offer a tremendous bang for your buck. (Check out this excellent review of the Level III Y combo.)
    Personally, I would forgo the HTD sub and get one from either Hsu, SVS, or Adire. I hear great things about Adire's Dharman subwoofer. Also, look at the Rava if you're not into the "BOOM-BOOM" of home theater). You might want to check out that sub. If you get the HTDs, you'll probably end up spending less money (especially if you just get the bookshelves) and you can put more money into a subwoofer. I own an SVS and can't recommend it enough. Despite their size, they are incredibly good and reproducing music. If you manage to get your hands on one, I doubt you will regret it.
     
  5. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    The norhs are amazing! Off-axis performance is one of the (many) areas where they really shine. One audition (thanks again, Due N) convinced me that I absolutely needed these speakers. The 4.0's are a bit long and rear-ported. So you might consider Prism 4.1's for surround duty if space is a problem. The whole 4.0 line is VERY well matched. I can hardly tell the difference between the marble/ceramic 4.0 and the Prism 4.1

    The SVS subs are everything you've heard and more. Definately worth the money. I think at a minimum I'd want an Adire Rava to go with the norhs. Haven't heard it, but I believe the claims that it has a powerful, clean output. I have heard the SAWM40 and while I'll recommend it for ultra tight budget scenerios I just don't think it would do the norhs justice.
     
  6. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    This reply is only on the subwoofer issue, as I have not heard the Norh's or HTD's. I have the Sony SA-wm40 and it is a great sub for HT, but I would hesitate to recommend it for music. Maybe if you mod the enclosure some, e.g. put some polyfill in there. Otherwise, it is a bit boomy and loose for music even with optimal room placement. I would get the Hsu VTF-2, which I have listened to in a friend's system. That sub is outstanding for both music and HT, and is probably the best value out there in the under $500 range.
     
  7. David X

    David X Stunt Coordinator

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    Ian .. I have the Aperion speakers. They are wonderful and beautiful little gems, for both HT and music. I have them mated with an Adire Audio Dharman subwoofer, which is also wonderful with this system, but you might consider the Aperion 12" sub, which has also gotten some great reviews lately and appears to be as beautifully made as the speakers. I also think that the Adire Audio Rava would be worth considering as well.

    One thing to keep in mind with the Aperion speakers is that they are fairly low on the sensitivity scale, so you need decent power to run them. I have them in a really huge and not very audio-friendly room, and I'm driving them with a Yamaha RX-V995 for now. I think cheaphometheater.com drove them with their Outlaw 1050, Onkyo 595 and Denon 1802, if I'm remembering the review correctly.

    -David
     

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