The Official "What Speakers or Subwoofer Should I Buy" Assistance Thread

Paladin906

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Hi there. I am new to the forum but I have been lurking for several months and I have gleaned some useful information so thanks to all of the active members of this forum who provide a wealth of knowledge. I have always been a fine cinema buff and now I have the opportunity to build a long desired cinema room. I have a dedicated, unfinished room with a very preliminary design. The room is not framed and I have the liberty of laying out the electrical and sound as I choose. I will include a very rough drawing of the design with this post. I am writing for some advice on the best speakers for my project. I want to utilize as many in wall speakers as possible.


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Speakers

Primary Use: 100% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 7.2.6(or maybe 4)

Room Size:
22x16

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $1500-3000

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? I would love to use mostly in wall speakers except for the sub woofers and center speakers.

Thanks for your help.
 

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JohnRice

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Hi there. I am new to the forum but I have been lurking for several months and I have gleaned some useful information so thanks to all of the active members of this forum who provide a wealth of knowledge. I have always been a fine cinema buff and now I have the opportunity to build a long desired cinema room. I have a dedicated, unfinished room with a very preliminary design. The room is not framed and I have the liberty of laying out the electrical and sound as I choose. I will include a very rough drawing of the design with this post. I am writing for some advice on the best speakers for my project. I want to utilize as many in wall speakers as possible.


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Speakers

Primary Use: 100% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 7.2.6(or maybe 4)

Room Size:
22x16

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $1500-3000

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? I would love to use mostly in wall speakers except for the sub woofers and center speakers.

Thanks for your help.
Are you willing to have shelf or wall mounted speakers instead of in-wall? It's a much better option.
 

Paladin906

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Are you willing to have shelf or wall mounted speakers instead of in-wall? It's a much better option.
Hi. Thanks for the response. I am only willing to have wall mounted speakers for the front and center speakers. I quickly realized when I started to plan this project that it's an exercise in compromise. The balance between design, function and budget is challenging. This is my first home theater, I'm initially willing to sacrifice sound quality for clean side walls.
 

prashantsaraf

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Hello All,
I am doing basement furnishing and adding a media room, currently I am having little constrain with basement as utilities are blocking area, attached is basement plan. I am total newbie to home theater.confused between WiFi and wired option. contractor is open for adding wiring so thinking to keep both wire and wireless option open. I am going to project from 21 ft wall from one end to other. T. I am not very keen on high end sound but thinking of decent sound while watching 3D/4K movies. I am thinking to go with


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? both,

Primary Use: 100% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 5.1 or 5.2

Room Size:
21x16

Is the room open to other areas of your home: there are two 5.2 Ft opening at start and end of room.

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $1500-3000

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? Open for WiFi

Thanks for your help.
 

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pipes

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My home theater isn't going to WOW any of you, but it suits my needs and didn't break the budget. Setup is a Yamaha RX-V385, really basic speakers originally from an Acoustic Audio AA5170, Dr. J 4500L projector and a 92" front projection screen.

I'd like to upgrade the speakers without breaking the bank.

What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both speakers and subwoofer

Primary Use: 30% Music, 70% TV & Movies
- We run the radio most of the time as muzak, "just audible" listening level for background noise, louder from time to time
- We watch movies on the "home theater", usually action adventure / comedy / drama. "Other" tv we usually just watch on a run of the mill tv in another room

Desired Configuration: 5.1

Room Size: 12x12 with a 6x2 cloor to ceiling "bay" behind the screen

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? Yes
- Yamaha RX-V385

What's your budget (low to high): $200 - $1000 for speakers if possible. If it isn't I'll break up the upgrade into pairs and do the upgrade over time. There's no rush.

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)?
One big question - can the "center" be located behind the screen? See the floor layout - there is a 2x6 alcove behind the screen (screen is motorized and drops down when we're watching it). It's working fine "to my ears" but I don't know if we're losing anything with the speaker behind the screen.

Adaptable to periodic upgrades. Can't imagine upgrading the projector would impact the speakers, but eventually would replace the 385 with something bigger, maybe update to 7.1 etc.

Torn between DIY cabinets or retail. Current speakers are "crappy" bookshelf speakers at ear height on the walls. Torn between towers or bookshelf style. "Viewing" ear height is around 4', maybe 5'.

The system is in a bedroom, viewed from center and just left of center, 10' from the screen
Hardwood floors, not a lot of textiles other than the bedding and pretty basic curtains.

The yellow marks on the sketch are the speaker locations (actually the big one, subwoofer is now toward the upper center on the sketch)

bedroom.png
 

theJman

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I'd like to upgrade the speakers without breaking the bank.
What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both speakers and subwoofer
What's your budget (low to high): $200 - $1000 for speakers if possible.


Are you looking for speakers and a subwoofer or just speakers? In one section you mention both but two other times you only say speakers. A decent powered sub is several hundred dollars so the inclusion/exclusion of one changes the speaker decision significantly.


Room Size: 12x12 with a 6x2 cloor to ceiling "bay" behind the screen

The image shows 11'7"x 14'7" as the dimensions. Does the 14' measurement included that alcove?


Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? Yamaha RX-V385

The amplifier section of that AVR doesn't have a lot of power so when looking for speakers pay attention to two specifications; impedance (listed in ohms) and sensitivity (listed in db SPL). For impedance look for a minimum of 6 ohms, but 8 would be better. Sensitivity should be in the high 80's at a minimum, low 90's would be ideal (but more difficult to find). Those two specifications give an indication of how hard an amplifier has to work to drive the speakers. If the amp isn't powerful then you need to be more cognizant of those numbers.


One big question - can the "center" be located behind the screen? See the floor layout - there is a 2x6 alcove behind the screen (screen is motorized and drops down when we're watching it). It's working fine "to my ears" but I don't know if we're losing anything with the speaker behind the screen.

If the screen is listed as AT - acoustically transparent - then in theory it doesn't block any of the sound. I've found in some cases the less expensive versions do impact high frequencies but if it sounds good to you that's the only thing that matters.


The system is in a bedroom, viewed from center and just left of center, 10' from the screen. Hardwood floors, not a lot of textiles other than the bedding and pretty basic curtains.

A predominance of hard surfaces creates reflections which can make high frequencies seem harsh or sharp. While YPAO may be able to tame some of that there likely will still be artifacts.
 

pipes

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Klaus
I'd like to upgrade the speakers without breaking the bank.
What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both speakers and subwoofer
What's your budget (low to high): $200 - $1000 for speakers if possible.


Are you looking for speakers and a subwoofer or just speakers? In one section you mention both but two other times you only say speakers. A decent powered sub is several hundred dollars so the inclusion/exclusion of one changes the speaker decision significantly.
The existing speakers are an inexpensive audio-only 5.1 tuner which is "ok" (Acoustic Audio). I connected the 5 to speaker outputs on the Yamaha and the Yamaha's subwoofer output to the AA set at 1/2 volume. Basically turned it into a powered subwoofer. Overall it's significantly more "present" than with just the AA system, using Jurassic Park as a measure ;)

I don't mind upgrading them in 2 or 3 passes and can spend more that way (the Mrs would notice $2k faster than $700, $700 and $700...). So basically it depends.

Room Size: 12x12 with a 6x2 cloor to ceiling "bay" behind the screen

The image shows 11'7"x 14'7" as the dimensions. Does the 14' measurement included that alcove?
The 14' dimension does include the alcove. I recall 12x12 and 6x2, but the old sketch I posted shows the room a couple inches smaller. But it's close to that.

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? Yamaha RX-V385
The amplifier section of that AVR doesn't have a lot of power so when looking for speakers pay attention to two specifications; impedance (listed in ohms) and sensitivity (listed in db SPL). For impedance look for a minimum of 6 ohms, but 8 would be better. Sensitivity should be in the high 80's at a minimum, low 90's would be ideal (but more difficult to find). Those two specifications give an indication of how hard an amplifier has to work to drive the speakers. If the amp isn't powerful then you need to be more cognizant of those numbers.
Translated, I have a lot of reading to do...

One big question - can the "center" be located behind the screen? See the floor layout - there is a 2x6 alcove behind the screen (screen is motorized and drops down when we're watching it). It's working fine "to my ears" but I don't know if we're losing anything with the speaker behind the screen.

If the screen is listed as AT - acoustically transparent - then in theory it doesn't block any of the sound. I've found in some cases the less expensive versions do impact high frequencies but if it sounds good to you that's the only thing that matters.
It does. I did the ypao balancing with the screen down in case it did matter.

The system is in a bedroom, viewed from center and just left of center, 10' from the screen. Hardwood floors, not a lot of textiles other than the bedding and pretty basic curtains.

A predominance of hard surfaces creates reflections which can make high frequencies seem harsh or sharp. While YPAO may be able to tame some of that there likely will still be artifacts.
I know the room isn't ideal, just what was possible with our home's layout. The sound is nothing like in a real theater but even with some compromises it is lightyears better than the tv speakers.

Thanks for the details response. I'll read up on the resistance and sensitivity specs you mentioned.
 

theJman

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The existing speakers are an inexpensive audio-only 5.1 tuner which is "ok" (Acoustic Audio). I connected the 5 to speaker outputs on the Yamaha and the Yamaha's subwoofer output to the AA set at 1/2 volume. Basically turned it into a powered subwoofer.
:eek: I imagine that sounds... interesting. I admire your ingenuity however, that's a novel solution. :) Given the situation perhaps you should go with a subwoofer first. That seems like it might be the upgrade that would give the most gratification. Lessen the burden on the speakers and return them to doing what they're designed for while simultaneously introducing legitimate bass response.


Translated, I have a lot of reading to do...
Perhaps not. I suspected you might not be familiar with some of the more pertinent spec's which is why I pointed those out and gave ranges to consider. You're certainly free to do whatever research you'd like, but if you just keep mindful of those two while narrowing down your options it should be fine.


It does. I did the ypao balancing with the screen down in case it did matter.
It does, and be sure to always run YPAO with the screen down. You want the EQ system to 'hear' the speakers as they will be used, otherwise the algorithm won't properly tune things.
 

pipes

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:eek: I imagine that sounds... interesting. I admire your ingenuity however, that's a novel solution. :) Given the situation perhaps you should go with a subwoofer first. That seems like it might be the upgrade that would give the most gratification. Lessen the burden on the speakers and return them to doing what they're designed for while simultaneously introducing legitimate bass response.
FWIW I didn't invent the technique, but I could have followed bad advice... It does work and it's an improvement over driving the speakers via the AA.

Still, I came here for advice so it sounds like I'm shopping for a powered(?), dedicated subwoofer first. Then later, upgrade the others.


Perhaps not. I suspected you might not be familiar with some of the more pertinent spec's which is why I pointed those out and gave ranges to consider. You're certainly free to do whatever research you'd like, but if you just keep mindful of those two while narrowing down your options it should be fine.

It does, and be sure to always run YPAO with the screen down. You want the EQ system to 'hear' the speakers as they will be used, otherwise the algorithm won't properly tune things.
Will do. Thank you.
 

prashantsaraf

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Prashant
Hello All,
I am doing basement furnishing and adding a media room, currently I am having little constrain with basement as utilities are blocking area, attached is basement plan. I am total newbie to home theater.confused between WiFi and wired option. contractor is open for adding wiring so thinking to keep both wire and wireless option open. I am going to project from 21 ft wall from one end to other. T. I am not very keen on high end sound but thinking of decent sound while watching 3D/4K movies. I am thinking to go with


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? both,

Primary Use: 100% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 5.1 or 5.2

Room Size:
21x16

Is the room open to other areas of your home: there are two 5.2 Ft opening at start and end of room.

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $1500-3000

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? Open for WiFi

Thanks for your help.

I am waiting for help.. can someone please help. I am thinking to setup SONOS wireless system but not getting how I will control audio and video with projector.
 

theJman

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Still, I came here for advice so it sounds like I'm shopping for a powered(?), dedicated subwoofer first. Then later, upgrade the others.
If you do opt to get a subwoofer first consider the RSL SpeedWoofer 10S, it's a fantastic option. Every reviewer who has evaluated one - myself included - has come away impressed by what it is capable of. That's especially true considering the price and size.
 
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bladerunner6

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Michael
Hello All,
I am doing basement furnishing and adding a media room, currently I am having little constrain with basement as utilities are blocking area, attached is basement plan. I am total newbie to home theater.confused between WiFi and wired option. contractor is open for adding wiring so thinking to keep both wire and wireless option open. I am going to project from 21 ft wall from one end to other. T. I am not very keen on high end sound but thinking of decent sound while watching 3D/4K movies. I am thinking to go with


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? both,

Primary Use: 100% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 5.1 or 5.2

Room Size:
21x16

Is the room open to other areas of your home: there are two 5.2 Ft opening at start and end of room.

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $1500-3000

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? Open for WiFi

Thanks for your help.
Newegg has a sale on some Polk speakers right now:
Labor Day sale on Polk-ends 9/7.

You have a moderately big room so you probably want towers for the fronts. The S55 speakers are fairly efficient and well reviewed.

The bookshelf speakers listed would be good surrounds. For a center you could use the S35 but after review I think the S30 would be a better fit.

Use your gift cards to buy this Denon receiver.

An HSU sub like this could be a good choice.
 
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bladerunner6

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I am waiting for help.. can someone please help. I am thinking to setup SONOS wireless system but not getting how I will control audio and video with projector.
I have another system right at the top end of your budget:

These Martin Logan Motion 20 speakers- the two discounted speakers they have on sale.

These Martin Logan bookshelf for surrounds.

This Martin Logan Center.

This Denon receiver for $430 at Costco.

Plus the previously mentioned HSU sub. That will bill right at the top of your budget but it is a really good value.

Also, something like this Dayton sub might be okay for home theatre purposes until you can afford an upgrade.
 

Clintster75

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Clint Merrell
What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both

Primary Use: 10% Music, 20% Gaming, 70% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 7.1.4 Overhead setup

Room Size: 27x15

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $5k - $7k

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? Yes many, surrounds and overhead speakers must be in wall/ceiling. Fronts and center speakers will be behind an acoustically transparent screen. She doesn't want to see speakers, still trying to figure out where to put the sub. Maybe inside the bar that will be behind the 2nd row of seating?

Will pickup an additional sub at some point because of the size of the room and the fact that it is a basement with concrete floor. Am willing to go to 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 initially if I am sacrificing too much quality by shooting for 7.1.4. Drywall is down and I will just run wires to future speaker locations if necessary.
 

Browns7213

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Hi All,

My brother in law just moved to Vegas and called me from Best Buy rattling off speaker & receiver combos asking which one he should buy. I suggested letting me do some research for him and seeing if we can come up with a better more well matched HT set-up for his room. In a weird coincidence I was going to post what people thought of the SVS Elevation speakers & I see they actually the sponsor of this thread!


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both

Primary Use: 100%TV & Movies,

Desired Configuration: 5.1

Room Size: 15x23

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No, but was looking at an Anthem receiver

What's your budget (low to high): $4-$5K Total for everything (Receiver, Speakers, Blu Ray Combo Player, Cables)

Any special requirements? The room has 5 doors-3 Closets, 1 HVAC room & 1 Entry which will limit speaker placement. Was thinking floor standing fronts, center on their media console, sub up front and SVS Elevation hangin above the doors in the rear of the room. Totally open to any & all recommendations. Also need an all in one Blu-Ray, DVD, CD player suggestion.
Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 1.04.25 PM.png
 

bladerunner6

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Hi All,

My brother in law just moved to Vegas and called me from Best Buy rattling off speaker & receiver combos asking which one he should buy. I suggested letting me do some research for him and seeing if we can come up with a better more well matched HT set-up for his room. In a weird coincidence I was going to post what people thought of the SVS Elevation speakers & I see they actually the sponsor of this thread!


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both

Primary Use: 100%TV & Movies,

Desired Configuration: 5.1

Room Size: 15x23

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No, but was looking at an Anthem receiver

What's your budget (low to high): $4-$5K Total for everything (Receiver, Speakers, Blu Ray Combo Player, Cables)

Any special requirements? The room has 5 doors-3 Closets, 1 HVAC room & 1 Entry which will limit speaker placement. Was thinking floor standing fronts, center on their media console, sub up front and SVS Elevation hangin above the doors in the rear of the room. Totally open to any & all recommendations. Also need an all in one Blu-Ray, DVD, CD player suggestion. View attachment 78887
If you like the Elevation series then just go for an SVS based front three.

I would avoid the Anthem and stick the money into speakers because that will have more of an impact on sound quality.

As for subs you could always consider a dual sub system.
 
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JohnRice

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Hi All,

My brother in law just moved to Vegas and called me from Best Buy rattling off speaker & receiver combos asking which one he should buy. I suggested letting me do some research for him and seeing if we can come up with a better more well matched HT set-up for his room. In a weird coincidence I was going to post what people thought of the SVS Elevation speakers & I see they actually the sponsor of this thread!


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both

Primary Use: 100%TV & Movies,

Desired Configuration: 5.1

Room Size: 15x23

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No, but was looking at an Anthem receiver

What's your budget (low to high): $4-$5K Total for everything (Receiver, Speakers, Blu Ray Combo Player, Cables)

Any special requirements? The room has 5 doors-3 Closets, 1 HVAC room & 1 Entry which will limit speaker placement. Was thinking floor standing fronts, center on their media console, sub up front and SVS Elevation hangin above the doors in the rear of the room. Totally open to any & all recommendations. Also need an all in one Blu-Ray, DVD, CD player suggestion. View attachment 78887
A comment on your layout. In a 5.1 system, the surround speakers go to the side, not behind. Just forward of that door would be good. So, a little behind the front row and forward (but as little as possible) of the back row. Then, if you ever go to 7.1 you add speakers on the back wall, spaced the same as the front speakers, if possible, but at the same height as the side surrounds.

You can certainly use the Elevations as your surrounds, mounted a little above sitting ear height on the sides. Then ideally you get SVS Primes or Ultras in the front.

As far as the sub location, along the front wall is probably better than on the side. If there's room immediately to the inside or outside of the left or right speaker is probably best, but ideally you have some options to find the best location once the system is set up. A sub that's either sealed or ported in the front gives you a little more flexibility on placement.

Anthem makes great receivers. They have the best room correction out there. You pay for what you get.
 
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bladerunner6

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A comment on your layout. In a 5.1 system, the surround speakers go to the side, not behind. Just forward of that door would be good. So, a little behind the front row and forward (but as little as possible) of the back row. Then, if you ever go to 7.1 you add speakers on the back wall, spaced the same as the front speakers, if possible, but at the same height as the side surrounds.

You can certainly use the Elevations as your surrounds, mounted a little above sitting ear height on the sides. Then ideally you get SVS Primes or Ultras in the front.

As far as the sub location, along the front wall is probably better than on the side. If there's room immediately to the inside or outside of the left or right speaker is probably best, but ideally you have some options to find the best location once the system is set up. A sub that's either sealed or ported in the front gives you a little more flexibility on placement.

Anthem makes great receivers. They have the best room correction out there. You pay for what you get.
I don’t want to get into a war here so I will state my case here and leave it at that.

That Anthem has the best room correction is somewhat debatable to say the least. (But it certainly is very good at least).But he has a budget of 4-5K and a 5.2 channel Anthem is $1400, over 1/3 of the low end of his budget. You suggest he might go 7.1 someday and the 7.2 channel Anthem is $2500, half of the top end of his budget!

My contention is he will get the greatest audio quality by buying a mainstream brand receiver and spending more on speakers and sub. Buying an Anthem receiver cripples the rest of his budget.

Say what you want, I am finished. Be safe and be well.
 

John Dirk

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I don’t want to get into a war here so I will state my case here and leave it at that.

That Anthem has the best room correction is somewhat debatable to say the least. (But it certainly is very good at least).But he has a budget of 4-5K and a 5.2 channel Anthem is $1400, over 1/3 of the low end of his budget. You suggest he might go 7.1 someday and the 7.2 channel Anthem is $2500, half of the top end of his budget!

My contention is he will get the greatest audio quality by buying a mainstream brand receiver and spending more on speakers and sub. Buying an Anthem receiver cripples the rest of his budget.

Say what you want, I am finished. Be safe and be well.
Respectfully, I don't understand why you couldn't have simply stated your opinion without alluding to some kind of "war." It's just a discussion. The whole idea of threads like this is to gather diverse perspectives. Yours is one of them but what's the harm in someone expressing a different view.
 

bladerunner6

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Michael
Hi All,

My brother in law just moved to Vegas and called me from Best Buy rattling off speaker & receiver combos asking which one he should buy. I suggested letting me do some research for him and seeing if we can come up with a better more well matched HT set-up for his room. In a weird coincidence I was going to post what people thought of the SVS Elevation speakers & I see they actually the sponsor of this thread!


What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both

Primary Use: 100%TV & Movies,

Desired Configuration: 5.1

Room Size: 15x23

Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No, but was looking at an Anthem receiver

What's your budget (low to high): $4-$5K Total for everything (Receiver, Speakers, Blu Ray Combo Player, Cables)

Any special requirements? The room has 5 doors-3 Closets, 1 HVAC room & 1 Entry which will limit speaker placement. Was thinking floor standing fronts, center on their media console, sub up front and SVS Elevation hangin above the doors in the rear of the room. Totally open to any & all recommendations. Also need an all in one Blu-Ray, DVD, CD player suggestion. View attachment 78887
SVS has an outlet with a variety of their products at discount.

Crutchfield is running a promotion where you save $50 when you buy two identical SVS subs.


Crutchfield also has some SVS items in their outlet.

I also found these used Elevation speakers you could make an offer on.

Here is a great price on an open box Denon 4500 from an authorized dealer.
 
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