Torn between picking up a pair of Rocket RS150s or Athena AS-F2s!?! Upgrading my HT!

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by kurt_fire, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay, I have an Onkyo HT surround sound setup and finally have built up enough dough to cure my upgrade urge.

    My Onkyo system is the HTS-650, or in other words, a $499 package I got a Circuit City almost 2 years ago. It came with the R500 (hope that's right) Onkyo receiver and a 5.1 500 watt speaker/sub package.

    Here's what I want to do. I want to first upgrade my fronts, then move my Onkyo fronts to the rear and discard the original Onkyo rears. I plan to upgrade my center around Christmas time to match the quality of whichever new fronts I end up buying.

    I'm torn between the Rocket RS150s (bookshelf) or the Athena AS-F2s (tower).

    Space is not that big of a deal for me so that will not alter my decision as to which speakers I purchase. I just want to know which speakers will give me the better sound. I primarily use my setup for DVDs (movies and concerts), Xbox, and occasionaly for the NFL Network.

    I can get either for around $350/pair and that is my rough budget. I really do not have much more than that to spend for my upgrade. If anybody else knows of some speakers that outperform these for around $400/pair or less, please feel free to inform me about them.

    What should I do?


    Thanks,
    Kurt
     
  2. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    It is all a matter of preference.

    Other internet direct companies to look at are:

    Ascend Acoustics
    Axiom Audio

    For traditional brands:
    Monitor Audio Bronze B2
    Epos ELS-3
     
  3. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    ^^^Thanks for the brand suggestions Curtis. But keep in mind I'm not familiar with these upper end brands and have no clue about how each speaker performs. If you were me, which pair of front would you purchase with a $350/pair limit?
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Well...some would consider me biased because I help moderate the Ascend Forum and own Ascends.

    Have you gone out to listen to anything at your local stores/shops?
     
  5. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, I have listened to the AS-F2s and some comparable Polk, JBL, and others. The only stores I've been to are Best Buy and Circuit City. It's hard to distinguish one from being better than another, especially in the type of setup these stores had the speakers in.

    I trust you guys' opinions and knowledge on speakers. I'd be willing to get whatever you guys agree on is the best speakers for the price.
     
  6. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Well...that may be tough then....because there are a lot of differing opinions.

    For me....at $328/pr....tough to beat the Ascend CBM-170's.
     
  7. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    Can anybody else recommend the Ascend CBM-170 as the best speakers for me under $350/pair? How would these compare to the AS-F2s?
     
  8. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    What will you be using the speakers for? Will you have a subwoofer?
     
  9. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    Like I said in my first post, I primarily use my setup for DVDs (movies and concerts), Xbox, and occasionaly for the NFL Network. I like my stuff LOUD when I watch it.

    And yes, I still will use the subwoofer that came with my Onkyo HTiB package. I believe it is a 150 watt, 8" subwoofer.
     
  10. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    I have never heard the Rockets or Ascends but I own the AS-F2s which are great speakers for the money. On the other hand I don't care for the Athena center channel speaker. If I had to do it over again I would probably choose a different manufacturer and design my system around an awesome center speaker. I'm currently using an AS-B2 bookshelf speaker as a center, and it works well, but the size and shape makes for awkward placement on top of tv's, etc.

    I also upgraded from an Onkyo HTIB, and while the Onkyo sub is fine for that set it will not keep up with the AS-F2s.
     
  11. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the input Chuck. What manufacturer would you buy if you could go back in time. I have a limit of about $350/pair which is what I can get the AS-F2s for. Do you have any suggestions for around that price?

    Also, how wouldn't my sub keep up? Wouldn't I just set the crossover frequency on my receiver to the lowest rating, which will put most of the bass strain onto the AS-F2s and not my sub?
     
  12. Scott Stephens

    Scott Stephens Stunt Coordinator

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    kurt,

    as everyone has said, the best thing is to listen listen listen!! different speakers have different tonalities and may or may not appeal to your particular tastes. like you said, it will be hard to do comparison listening in best buy. so if you can, pick a local independent audio shop and go listen to speakers there. in my experience, these guys are extremely helpful and some will even let you take speakers home to audition in your environment.

    that said, i think Athena produces a great speaker for the money. while i have never heard their towers, i bought my fiance a pair of Athena bookshelves (can't remember the model #) and was extremely impressed by their quality. and i can only assume that the towers are even better. most of the reviews of the Athenas have been extremely complimentary.

    but for your budget you should also consider Paradigm. the Mini-monitors are fantastic speakers and retail for around $350. these should be very easy to audition at your local Paradigm dealer. bottom line, make sure you take a CD that you're familiar with or a DVD that you're familiar with, and see how they sound on whatever speaker you're considering. this will really help you in making the right decision.

    good luck!!
     
  13. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    First of all, my opinion of the Athena center speaker is not shared by all. Many people are satisfied with it but I had some lobing issues with it in my room. If Athena would offer an improved center I would be more than happy with the AS-F2s!

    I can't speak for other manufacturers since I haven't owned them, but I've heard a lot of good things about both the Rockets and Ascends. I know some of the Rockets are 4-6 ohm speakers so you might want to make sure your receiver can handle them. I don't know what your budget will be for a center speaker so that is something to consider also.

    I was happy with the Onkyo sub until I got the AS-F2s. They seem to play almost as loud and low as the Onkyo sub and made me realize that I needed a new sub to get the below 30hz LFE material.
     
  14. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    "but I own the AS-F2s which are great speakers for the money"

    Great speakers for a lot more money too!

    Take the F2, they are at least as good as the ascends, and can play low,go loud, and are a very easy load for and amplifier.

    If you go front projection just use a third AS-F2 for your center channel.

    Brent
     
  15. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    You can now get the Rocket ELT Cse (in rosewood) for $299 / pair.

    Swan 2.1s are also $299 / pair.

    $300 goes a long way now.
     
  16. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    I thought the ELT Cse in rosewood was $599/pr ??
     
  17. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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  18. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    I plan to upgrade my center in the near future. I plan to run a 4.1 setup until I get a center capable of playing alongside to whatever I choose to get. I've heard some good stuff and bad stuff about the Athena AS-C1. If I were to get the AS-F2s, what center channel would you guys recommend for under $200?

    Just checked the Rocket website and the ELT CSE in rosewood are $599/pair. Not the $299.

    I really was hoping people in here would all agree on one speaker and make my decision easy. Now I have no clue as to which speakers to buy. Most of these I can't demo because there are not any local AV shops around that carry this stuff.
     
  19. David Bikeman

    David Bikeman Stunt Coordinator

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    "Take the F2, they are at least as good as the ascends, and can play low,go loud, and are a very easy load for and amplifier."

    I agree the F2's are good speakers but they are voiced quite different from the Ascend's. They are not equals.

    David
     
  20. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Ascend and Athena are voiced differently. I'm with David on the choice. If your looking for a better center channel the Ascend 340 center is very good and a steal at it's price.

    This has nothing to do with my HTF marketplace classified.
     

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