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The Official "What Speakers or Subwoofer Should I Buy" Assistance Thread (1 Viewer)

Dave Upton

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Thanks for those initial thoughts. What budget would you say is required if I want to expand to Atmos down the road, with only 3 front speakers and a receiver to start with as you suggested, given the other requirements I mentioned? I'd be willing to increase my budget somewhat
Not a huge difference if you're referring to only the receiver. Probably 150-200 dollars, especially if you are willing to go with a refurbished unit.
 

Dave Upton

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What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)?
  • Center Channel Speaker (below tv possibly mounted or on mantle)
  • 2 bookshelf speakers (placed on built-in shelves)
  • 2 in-ceiling speakers - wired (atmos)
  • Wireless sub
Primary Use: 10% Music, 90% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 3.1.2

Room Size:
16' x 19'

Is the room open to other areas of your home: Yes, to the left and rear

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $1500-2500

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? Nope
For this sort of system, I would probably stick with trusty ELAC Debut B6.2 bookshelves and center, and these for in-ceiling: Amazon product

Regarding your receiver options, check out refurbs on accessories4less, or pick up a used unit on USAudioMart
 

theJman

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What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)?
  • Center Channel Speaker (below tv possibly mounted or on mantle)
  • 2 bookshelf speakers (placed on built-in shelves)
  • 2 in-ceiling speakers - wired (atmos)
  • Wireless sub
Primary Use: 10% Music, 90% TV & Movies

Desired Configuration: 3.1.2

Room Size:
16' x 19'

Is the room open to other areas of your home: Yes, to the left and rear

Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

What's your budget (low to high): $1500-2500

Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? Nope

Assuming the typical 8' ceilings a 16'x19' room is just under 2400 cubic feet, so about medium size. That's not an issue really, the trouble is the openings; they will have an impact on what the speakers and subwoofer can do, especially the subwoofer. That could pose a challenge. Be that as it may, along with the ELAC system Dave suggested here's an alternative that has components from several different manufacturers...


It's at the top of your budget but it would be a very nice setup (buy once, cry once). None of the components is very large either so they wouldn't dominate the room visually, but they would aurally.
 

Experience111

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Not a huge difference if you're referring to only the receiver. Probably 150-200 dollars, especially if you are willing to go with a refurbished unit.
Just to be clear you mean 150-200 dollars more right? That's fine for me, if you can throw in a 3.0 setup suggestion based on my initial post requirements and this updated budget that would be great!
 

JohnRice

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Just to be clear you mean 150-200 dollars more right? That's fine for me, if you can throw in a 3.0 setup suggestion based on my initial post requirements and this updated budget that would be great!
If you're willing to go refurb (a good deal) you can get this Denon H950, which will do up to 7.2 or 5.2.2 for $450. For $600 you can open the possibility of up to 7.2.4 later by adding an amplifier with the Denon X2600. For speakers, I'd personally recommend the ELAC Debut b6.2 and C6.2 that Dave recommended. Then when Atmos time came along, you could get the Debut in-ceilings, or the RSLs Jim recommended, which are an excellent value and less than half the price.
 

Experience111

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If you're willing to go refurb (a good deal) you can get this Denon H950, which will do up to 7.2 or 5.2.2 for $450. For $600 you can open the possibility of up to 7.2.4 later by adding an amplifier with the Denon X2600. For speakers, I'd personally recommend the ELAC Debut b6.2 and C6.2 that Dave recommended. Then when Atmos time came along, you could get the Debut in-ceilings, or the RSLs Jim recommended, which are an excellent value and less than half the price.
Thanks I will look into this. Do you have any alternative recommendation in the same price range so that I could compare the different systems for my purpose?

Also could anyone explain how exactly downmixing works with these receivers? If we assume I'm playing some media file with TrueHD Atmos DTS 7.1 or DTS 5.1 sound, how does the receiver make it work appropriately for the 3.0 system it is plugged to? I'm not sure this is the right place for asking this but it is confusing me
 

JohnRice

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They can reduce the number of channels by matrixing those channels into the existing channels to create the best attempt at a pseudo surround. 3.1 actually works pretty well, with a little surround effect that depends on the capabilities of the speakers. The Debuts have exceptional imaging, which means they will do this better than most speakers. You configure the receiver to know which speakers are in the system and it automatically does what's needed for fewer (or more) speakers than the track has. Pretty much fix and forget from that standpoint.
 

Shinta255

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You don't use soundbars with a receiver. It's an either/or thing, not both.
Hmm, I was hoping to be able to switch between a TV and projector for multiple video games / PC / NAS / maybe other audio sources for this one audio output. Do you have other recommendations to handle this?
 

JohnRice

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Hmm, I was hoping to be able to switch between a TV and projector for multiple video games / PC / NAS / maybe other audio sources for this one audio output. Do you have other recommendations to handle this?
Then you should go with a receiver and speakers. Soundbars by their very design are self-contained, and quite limited. But they are more simple to use.
 

Shinta255

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Then you should go with a receiver and speakers. Soundbars by their very design are self-contained, and quite limited. But they are more simple to use.
You were helping me (post #342 on previous page) and recommended a 3.1.2 speaker system. The only speakers(?)(thought sound bars are considered speakers) I could find are sound bars. Do you recommend speakers that are 3.1.2 or 3.1 that would great with a receiver? Appreciate it
 

JohnRice

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You were helping me (post #342 on previous page) and recommended a 3.1.2 speaker system. The only speakers(?)(thought sound bars are considered speakers) I could find are sound bars. Do you recommend speakers that are 3.1.2 or 3.1 that would great with a receiver? Appreciate it
Soundbars are speakers, but they aren't only speakers. There are some very rare cases of soundbars which are just L/C/R speakers in one enclosure, and nothing else, which you use with a regular receiver, but the overwhelming majority of them are complete audio systems with amplifiers and source switching which are essentially self-contained systems. That's the case with the one you linked.

I'm not sure why you say the only speakers you could find are soundbars, but then I looked at the Best Buy site and find there is nowhere I can find a category for speakers. That's just... absolutely... bizarre. Even in the Magnolia section, no section for speakers. So as an example, I just searched for the speaker brand ELAC and got what's at that link. There's an example of what you could choose from. Then you construct the system from various options and add a receiver to runit all.
 

Shinta255

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Soundbars are speakers, but they aren't only speakers. There are some very rare cases of soundbars which are just L/C/R speakers in one enclosure, and nothing else, which you use with a regular receiver, but the overwhelming majority of them are complete audio systems with amplifiers and source switching which are essentially self-contained systems. That's the case with the one you linked.

I'm not sure why you say the only speakers you could find are soundbars, but then I looked at the Best Buy site and find there is nowhere I can find a category for speakers. That's just... absolutely... bizarre. Even in the Magnolia section, no section for speakers. So as an example, I just searched for the speaker brand ELAC and got what's at that link. There's an example of what you could choose from. Then you construct the system from various options and add a receiver to runit all.
I see, thanks. I was expecting to get a bundle, but I will look into buying the pair/center/subwoofer separately. Does it matter if they are from different brands and would there be certain compatibility issues with receivers?
 

JohnRice

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I see, thanks. I was expecting to get a bundle, but I will look into buying the pair/center/subwoofer separately. Does it matter if they are from different brands and would there be certain compatibility issues with receivers?
The front three in particular should be the same line from the same brand. So, with a 3.1 system, that's all the speakers except the sub which can definitely be a different brand. In fact, it probably should be a different brand because there are brands that specialize in subs. There can be compatibility problems, but that's usually not a problem. Those ELAC Debut v2 speakers are exceptional for the price.

I don't remember, do you have a target budget? Are you in the US? It sounds like 3.1 is your goal.
 

Shinta255

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The front three in particular should be the same line from the same brand. So, with a 3.1 system, that's all the speakers except the sub which can definitely be a different brand. In fact, it probably should be a different brand because there are brands that specialize in subs. There can be compatibility problems, but that's usually not a problem. Those ELAC Debut v2 speakers are exceptional for the price.

I don't remember, do you have a target budget? Are you in the US? It sounds like 3.1 is your goal.
No real target budget, but the cheaper it is, the easier it is to convince the wife. Maybe around 1k-1.5k for all speakers? Yes I'm in NC. We were thinking of putting the L/R speakers on the book shelf on the sides of the fireplace and the center one above the fireplace on the mantel and below the mounted TV. The bookshelves have a 14" vertical clearance and the center would only have less than 5"...I will probably need to find a way around this.
 

Experience111

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If you're willing to go refurb (a good deal) you can get this Denon H950, which will do up to 7.2 or 5.2.2 for $450. For $600 you can open the possibility of up to 7.2.4 later by adding an amplifier with the Denon X2600. For speakers, I'd personally recommend the ELAC Debut b6.2 and C6.2 that Dave recommended. Then when Atmos time came along, you could get the Debut in-ceilings, or the RSLs Jim recommended, which are an excellent value and less than half the price.
I'm not able to find the Denon H950 (even used) where I live (Europe).

I am now looking for an alternative receiver, under 500 USD. It doesn't matter if it can do 7.1, as long as it works well with the ELAC Debut b6.2 and C6.2 which were recommended to me, and is able to read any audio format the Nvidia Shield will throw at it (I have some media files with 5.1 audio tracks, DTS HD, DD+, Atmos, 7.1 and what have you, usually from 4K Blu-rays I ripped).

Looking forward to a recommendation.
 
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JohnRice

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I'm not able to find the Denon H950 (even used) where I live (Europe).

I am now looking for an alternative receiver, under 500 USD. It doesn't matter if it can do 7.1, as long as it works well with the ELAC Debut b6.2 and C6.2 which were recommended to me, and is able to read any audio format the Nvidia Shield will throw at it (I have some media files with 5.1 audio tracks, DTS HD, DD+, Atmos, 7.1 and what have you, usually from 4K Blu-rays I ripped).

Looking forward to a recommendation.
I don't know. It's a terrible year for buying receivers. The Denon model numbers in your area might be different than the US. I don't know where to get used or refurb gear outside the US. It'll probably be a year or more before availability and prices improve. In general I recommend staying with Denon or Yamaha in that price range.
 

theJman

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No real target budget, but the cheaper it is, the easier it is to convince the wife. Maybe around 1k-1.5k for all speakers? Yes I'm in NC. We were thinking of putting the L/R speakers on the book shelf on the sides of the fireplace and the center one above the fireplace on the mantel and below the mounted TV. The bookshelves have a 14" vertical clearance and the center would only have less than 5"...I will probably need to find a way around this.

The 'best of breed' approach you see being suggested - where you buy speakers and a subwoofer from different companies - is what most of us do, but for someone who is new to the process it can be a bit daunting. Thankfully there are bundles available if you would rather explore that option. One such system is the RSL CG5 3.1. That company makes excellent speakers and subs so you aren't skimping on either if you go that route. Pair those with a slim-line AVR like the Marantz NR1510 and you have a small system that will sound anything but small. Double bonus is if you decide to go 3.1.x RSL also sells in-ceiling speakers that are highly regarded.
 

Dave Upton

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I'm not able to find the Denon H950 (even used) where I live (Europe).

I am now looking for an alternative receiver, under 500 USD. It doesn't matter if it can do 7.1, as long as it works well with the ELAC Debut b6.2 and C6.2 which were recommended to me, and is able to read any audio format the Nvidia Shield will throw at it (I have some media files with 5.1 audio tracks, DTS HD, DD+, Atmos, 7.1 and what have you, usually from 4K Blu-rays I ripped).

Looking forward to a recommendation.
You could go with something like this: Amazon product

Another good option (in the EU) is this one: https://www.elektrowelt24.eu/shop/A...aha-RX-V4A-schwarz-5-2-AV-Receiver::7162.html
 

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