Speaker choices (Home Theater Direct owners wanted)...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Yousaf, Jan 26, 2003.

  1. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    Eventually, I plan on building a 5.1 system for around $2000 (minus sub, speakers only). The front LR and rears will probably be bookshelves due to space considerations, and since I don't forsee myself having much space in the next few years (I'm at college), the speakers will have to be placed very close to the walls. Front ported or sealed speakers might be in order. I am using a Harman Kardon 320 receiver right now (55 watts/channel) and dont think I will have the money to upgrade to anything more powerful anytime soon. So, the speakers should be able to play with a relatively low amount of power. I currently have Acoustic Research AR15s in the front, and while they are very good, I feel like I might be missing something. I prefer a brighter speaker mainly because it results in a more detailed, crisp sound though I understand that some speakers (like the Rockets) can do that even though they are warmer. That is ok too. Finally, I like my music and movies to be loud, so the speakers should be able to handle the massive ( [​IMG] ) 55 watts my reciver puts out without much distortion. I dont think this should be a problem in my price range but you never know.


    I am guessing that a realistic price range (if I want 4 matched bookshelves and a center) per bookshelf pair should be between $500 and $700. For that price, I have been looking at the:

    Rocket RS250: Everyone loves them, though they are warmer they are still detailed. I think these might be my best option but I am worried about my not optimal placement and weak receiver bringing them down. One of the best looking speakers that I have listed.

    ACI Emeralds: Only heard about them recently...I down have any real impressions on them other than the fast that their owners seem to be pretty satisfied.

    NHT SB3: Tight and bright, I should like the way they sound but I might not have the amplifier power to drive them well. I think they are sealed too, so placement near walls shouldn't be as much of an issue.

    Polk Lsi9: No opinion

    Axiom M3Ti: Cheaper than the others but they are bright. They are pretty efficient speakers so I shouldn't have a problem getting them to play loudly. On the downside, at $275 a pair, I feel like I might get better overall sound by going one of my other choices.

    Paradigm Studio 20s: Seem good but after reading threads on the amount of power the Studio 100s need I can't help but wonder if my receiver power is not sufficient.

    Home Theater Direct Level Four: Has anyone heard the Home Theater Direct Level Four bookshelf speakers? I have not heard these speakers nor have I heard from anyone who owns them. I don't know how they sound, but with the silk dome tweeter I'm guessing they might be a bit more laid back on the high end, and maybe a bit mellower overall. As long as they are clear and detailed this shouldn't be a problem. Also, they are front ported which should be a good thing. I am a bit ashamed to say this but I am really looking for someone to give the OK on these speakers just because of how much I love the looks of them (both shape and finish mappa burl). Still, I know that sound quality is king and since I don't have much money for experimentation I need to be really sure that these speakers sound good too.

    Any opinions?
     
  2. Tim Morton

    Tim Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    Can i add "monitor audio" to your short list..it is a very nice speaker and seems to fit your desire for a crisp detailed sound...that is exactly how i would describe mine, and they have no problem getting out of the way to let the sub and center channel shine.
     
  3. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Well Yousaf you must know that HTD has a 45 day return policy, no questions asked. They definitely will honor that policy to. They are very good Co. to work with. I have experience with the Level Three towers and was impressed for the money. Now the Three's are improved and HTD also have the Level Four's to offer. Sorry that is all the help I can be. The Three towers could handle everything I could throw at them easily no problem.> 100 watts per, receiver rated 20-20. That was the first thing I noticed.
     
  4. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    I used to own the HTD Level III's before I moved up to the Diva line. The HTDs are, in my opinion, excellent speakers I can't say that I have heard the Level IV speakers, but I do believe that you are correct in assuming that these speakers will have a more laid back sound than the others you mentioned. Whether or not you will like that sound is up to you to decide.

    I agree that if you are really interested in the HTDs, you should take them up on their money-back guarantee policy and at least try them out. Keep the boxes, and send them back--free of charge, I might add--if they are not what you are looking for in a speaker. You have nothing to lose.

    Oh, and if you do get them, be sure to post your thoughts here on the board. I'm very interested in how they sound.
     
  5. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    Tim: I could only find a price on the Monitor Silver S1 bookshelf ($600). Is this the speaker you were referring to?


    Steve and Jeffrey: I definitely don't think that the HTD Level 4s will sound bad, but I just want to make sure I am getting all that I can for the money. Ideally, I would order all of the speakers, audition them, then return the ones I don't like (after cancelling some on the list, of course I can't have 14 speakers laying around in my room). Here's where things get sticky...I am only 19 and my credit card doesn't have a very high limit; actually, it's only high enough that I purchase the Axioms on my card. Basically, this mandates the use of my parents' card, and since they are paying for me to go to school they won't be too keen on me ordering a bunch of speakers because they won't think I am concentrating on what is important. I need to be almost 100% sure that I will keep a speaker if I am going to buy it.

    Is the Level Four worth it? Can it compete with my other choices? Are any of the other ones particularly better?
     
  6. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    Ok, I just started reading some reviews on the HTD Level 3 system based on the assumption that the Level 4 would be similar...

    This review mentioend that the silk dome tweeter was a bit too bright and crisp for their tastes, although that is right up my alley.

    My concern still is that I am compromising. Granted, while pretty much every $500-700 speaker is a compromise, I have this odd feeling that I am compromising more by going with this speaker than I would be by purchasing the Rockets, Paradigm, or ACI. I dunno. Maybe I should just just say "Hell with it", order them anyway, and just see how it goes. Advice is appreciated...
     
  7. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    OK I am incredibly impatient and went ahead and ordered the Home Theater Direct speakers. I will post a review after I break them in. Still, I will only keep these speakers if I REALLY like them and they kick the crap out of my current ones...otherwise, I will take advantage of the return policy and keep shopping around. At this point, I just really need to know what (if anything) I am missing from my current speakers. I like them, but when I hear about so many people getting eargasms from their Rockets I can't help but wonder.

    If you guys don't mind, can you still tell me which speakers you would recomend out of that list? Thanks.
     
  8. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    check out www.aperionaudio.com if your lookinf for looks and performance. Like you, I was looking at HTD for good looks and positive reviews. Aperion has a similar story and with even better reviews I went for it (again with similar return policy) and haven't looked back.
     
  9. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    check out www.aperionaudio.com if your lookinf for looks and performance. Like you, I was looking at HTD for good looks and positive reviews. Aperion has a similar story and with even better reviews I went for it (again with similar return policy) and haven't looked back.
     
  10. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    check out www.aperionaudio.com if your lookinf for looks and performance. Like you, I was looking at HTD for good looks and positive reviews. Aperion has a similar story and with even better reviews I went for it (again with similar return policy) and haven't looked back.
     
  11. Jack Dotson

    Jack Dotson Agent

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    If you decide the HTF are not your cup ot tea, I would suggest you give some very strong consideration to the offernings from Dahlquist. One of the best values out there for the money. You would have to get ahold of Marc at the Audioshop (located in Canada), as there is currently no U.S. dealer I know of. A very hard speaker to beat for the money and might be just what you are looking for.
     
  12. James Gillespie

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    Any updates on the Level 4's Yousaf?

    Cheers,
    James
     
  13. Yousaf

    Yousaf Second Unit

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    Heh I just answered that for someone who emailed me yesterday (but that account doesn't store sent messages, so I guess I'll just rewrite). This will not be a particularly long review, because the speakers do not warrant one.


    Basically, I was not impressed. First of all, one of the speakers had a broken midrange driver, so I couldn't judge their imaging characteristics. Secondly, I only had about 25 hours of break-in on the speaker because they were big and took up a lot of desk space, and if I could only listen to one it was useless.

    What I found was, surprisingly, that the speaker was pretty bright. I know I mentioned that I like speakers on the bright side but these were harsh and painful to listen to when turned up. The midrange driver did not extend too far down on the low end of the spectrum, and while I did not make any quantifiable measurements, they did not go down as far as my Acoustic Research AR15 bookshelves. The speaker did bring voices out better than my AR15s and gave a better sense of being there. The speakers sound more pleasing after a little more break in but overall, I did not like them. You might, so especially if it is your first time ordering from HTD, take advantage of the free return shipping policy if you don't like them.

    Despite the poor sound, I must give them kudos for the overall finish and build quality (excepting the broken midrange [​IMG] ). The cabinets were very solid. Most of my friends told me how horrible they thought the Mappa Burl finish was online, but once they saw the speakers in person they really liked them. The gloss finish is exquisite...looking at the reflection of my monitor off the speaker, I could read text and everything just fine.

    To sum up, I did not have a great experience with the speakers. This is not a very good review because I could not test with both speakers, but I think I heard enough to not like them. Since the HTDs, I bought a used pair of GR-Research A/V-1s, and even with the older crossovers they sound simply amazing. Keepers for sure. I think I will even update play with them and replace the crossovers, do the Sonicap upgrade, and add Black Hole 5, especially now that I have a completed product that I can look at to guide me.
     
  14. James Gillespie

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    Thanks for the update. I'm still undecided if I want to go with HTD Level III bookshelves all around for the 6.1 setup I'm working on. I already have the Yamaha Rxv-1300. On paper, they look good, and I like the $220/pair price point, but in the back of my mind I wonder if it would be a mistake...

    Thanks,
    James
     
  15. Guyza

    Guyza Stunt Coordinator

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    James,

    Here's a link to 6 speakers for sale that might fit your budget and are highly rated and reviewed.

    5 qx6s + center for sale

    Guy
     
  16. James Gillespie

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    Guy,

    Thanks for the link, but the cherry finish won't get past the WAF, since the rest of the room is done in oak. I'm also a month or more away from actually pulling the trigger. I've just started today looking at speakers from Axiom, Ascend, and Aperion as they are all close to my target price per pair. Just most of these look like they are intended for stands, where in the front the LR will be wall mounted and LCR in the rear will all need to be ceiling mounted or wall mounted and facing downward towards my seating location. And no, the size of the room, and the size of the TV, won't allow me to move the couch forward away from the back wall.

    Thanks,
    James
     
  17. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    You really owe it to yourself to check out the GR Research A/V-1s.

    They are available in Kit form in various stages of completion

    http://www.gr-research.com/performer/av1.htm

    Or you can have Brian at RAD build them for you.

    http://www.rutledgeaudiodesign.com/ (and then click on GR Research).

    Truly amazing speakers, that sound better than any $1500 monitor I have heard (and I have heard quite a few).

    Hope this helps.
     

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