Home Theater Speakers

Killroy

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So I have slowly been getting my media room set up the way I want it and the only things I have left to do are to run network and coax cables to the room and buy/setup the speakers.

The current setup is:
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100 - 1080p Projector, ceiling mounted, ~100" projected onto wall
Onkyo TX-SR806B - 7.1 Receiver
Altec Lansing ACS45.2 - 2.1 Computer Speakers, probably close to 10 years old but sound surprisingly well for what they are
HTPC - Listed in sig
Logitech Harmony One Advanced
Logitech DiNovo Mini - Keyboard/mouse when needed
Xbox 360
Wii
Six black leather reclining media chairs

The room is roughly 9' wide x 16' deep x 12' tall. (I am not at home now but I will try to get the correct measurements later.) There is enough room at the front for floor standing speakers and a moderate sized sub (2'x2') but not enough room for large surrounds. The chairs are setup in two rows of three with the second row raised about one foot higher than the front. The second row is centered against the back wall and the front row is against the left wall (if seated) to allow a gap to access the second row.

My budget is about $700 for a 5.1 setup and may add two more surrounds at a later time. I would prefer all black speakers but they at least need to match. My usage is probably 75% games and 25% movies. Once I have the satellite box moved into the theater room, the movies/tv percentage will probably increase some but will still mostly be gaming.

This is what I am considering right now:
Polk Monitor 50 - Front left/right pair
Polk CS1 - Center channel
Polk OWM3 - Surround Sound Pair

So assuming I could purchase the 5 speakers above for ~$400 that would leave me with $200-$250 for a a subwoofer. What subwoofer would you all recommend? Would you make any changes to the speaker selection above? Anything else I would need to mount the speakers (I already have 250ft of speaker wire)? I also need something to put my HTPC, receiver, Xbox, Wii, STB, and center channel in or on, so any suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated (preferably not rackmount and black would be best).

Your help is greatly appreciated!
 
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96redformula

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Do NOT go with polk monitor 50's. I highly reccomend against them as I have heard them and they are subpar against others in the price range.

Check avsforums.com for tons more options. I personally would recommend that you get a good pair of bookshelves instead of the lower quality polks.
 
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Demon10000

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PSB makes a good set of speakers, though I don't think you're going to get into a 5.1 for $700. I managed to pick up a complete set of Monitor Audio (7.1 set) for $500 from Craigslist. Had to drive quite far to pick them up, but they were well worth it. If you can find a set in your price range, I'd highly recommend them.

I guess what I'm saying is don't forget about the used market. The set I got was less than a year old and the guy gave me the receipt for the warranty. It showed he paid $1400 for them.
 

Killroy

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Do NOT go with polk monitor 50's. I highly reccomend against them as I have heard them and they are subpar against others in the price range.

Check avsforums.com for tons more options. I personally would recommend that you get a good pair of bookshelves instead of the lower quality polks.

Good to know, but do you have any personal suggestions? I will do some more searching over at avsforum, there is just so much information there that it can be hard finding what you're looking for.:p
 

96redformula

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I have not heard these, but they come highly recommended
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...&cm_re=energy_speakers-_-82-269-004-_-Product

I had a pair of these and they were really good for the price/performance ratio and much better than the polk monitor 50s. I am not sure what the best offer price is, but I got each speaker for $30+shipping or so from the same seller through auction.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Infinity-Primus...mQQptZSpeakers_Subwoofers?hash=item2305e52d18

I was highly reccomending infinity beta speakers, but they are nowhere to be found now. As for subs, Bic H-100 for about $200 through ebay best offer is great, even better is eD a2-300 but that jumps up to $350 or so.
 
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kemist1117

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infinity primus are very similar to the betas and get great reviews, plus you can find them pretty cheap.

Worth looking into.
 

ShepsCrook

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I have the Polk 50's and I like them. However, if you've had good speakers before and are looking to upgrade, then you may not like them. My speakers were pretty much DJ speakers and were just large and bulky and I wanted something a bit more streamlined for my theatre.
 

Archmage

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If you go the Polk route, that's fine (no personal experience) but the OWM3 doesn't seem to use the same drivers as the R50.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290009 - Polk Monitor 30, $110 per pair, and uses the same 5.25" woofer. I'd use these for the surrounds if you're going with the Monitor 50 + CS1. They also have the Monitor 40, which features dual 5.25" mids like the Monitor 50.

If you're going to spend any more than that... then I wouldn't use Polk. But at that price... meh... a DIY setup could beat it, but it'd involve fabrication and some additional work.
 

rantanamo

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There's nothing wrong with the Polks. They are a little bright before break-in, but otherwise are great for a surround setup. I recommend the 40s over 50s, but you should try Polk Audio Direct on Ebay and try to score some monitor 60s for the same price.
 

IDversusEGO

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those energy speakers are good for the money but not better than the polks from what I hear. I have had the primus speakers and they are good for the $$. For your budget I recommend dropping the 7.1 down to 5.1...the effect of 7.1 is negligible anyway. Concentrate on your center channel, its where most of your sound comes from in a theater. most people make the mistake of spending too much on the left and right. I have seen multiple studies and the percentage always varies, but the percentages are something like 75-85% of your sound comes from center channel for movies. the left and right only reproduce off screen sound or parts of off center sound. the rears are ambient noise almost exclusively. I have had setups with floor speakers and bookshelves for L/R...there was no discernible difference in movies. save yourself some money on bookshelves and spend it on the center. also...the R50s are priced each...that means you need 2 and your total is more like $500, not $375. Your paying a premuim for size on those rears. why cant you use bookshelf speakers back there?
 

EndersShadow

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I would look at the Polk Monitor series on newegg. I personally run a total Polk setup for both my Main Home Theater and my bedroom.

In my Main Theater I have Polk 60's as fronts, CS1 as a center w/ R50's as surrounds. They are paired w/ a PSW125 (which I will be replacing because it cant provide me enough bass to my taste)

In my bedroom I have a set of Monitor 40's and a CS2.

Both setups are more than loud enough for my tastes and were not that expensive at all when I purchased them. I personally highly recommend them as a good budget set for a home theater.
 

Killroy

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I have not heard these, but they come highly recommended
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...&cm_re=energy_speakers-_-82-269-004-_-Product

I had a pair of these and they were really good for the price/performance ratio and much better than the polk monitor 50s. I am not sure what the best offer price is, but I got each speaker for $30+shipping or so from the same seller through auction.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Infinity-Primus...mQQptZSpeakers_Subwoofers?hash=item2305e52d18

I was highly reccomending infinity beta speakers, but they are nowhere to be found now. As for subs, Bic H-100 for about $200 through ebay best offer is great, even better is eD a2-300 but that jumps up to $350 or so.

infinity primus are very similar to the betas and get great reviews, plus you can find them pretty cheap.

Worth looking into.

I have seen those Energy speakers recommended on multiple forums and may go that route as the wife would prefer I spend even less on speakers. I will also have to look more into the Infinity speakers, especially if they can be had pretty cheap. I had actually been looking at the eD a2-300 even though it was a little out of my price range, but now that it has gone up to $415 it is definitely out of my budget.


I have the Polk 50's and I like them. However, if you've had good speakers before and are looking to upgrade, then you may not like them. My speakers were pretty much DJ speakers and were just large and bulky and I wanted something a bit more streamlined for my theatre.

This will be my first set of home theater speakers and I'm not an audiophile but I do want good speakers for the price.
Beastly speakers I am coming from Altec Lansing ACS45.2 :p

If you go the Polk route, that's fine (no personal experience) but the OWM3 doesn't seem to use the same drivers as the R50.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290009 - Polk Monitor 30, $110 per pair, and uses the same 5.25" woofer. I'd use these for the surrounds if you're going with the Monitor 50 + CS1. They also have the Monitor 40, which features dual 5.25" mids like the Monitor 50.

If you're going to spend any more than that... then I wouldn't use Polk. But at that price... meh... a DIY setup could beat it, but it'd involve fabrication and some additional work.

The reason I was considering the OWM3 surrounds was primarily for their size. I knew it was best to match drivers but thought that it didn't matter as much with the surrounds. Some reasonably sized bookshelves may work, the only thing is that the end seats will be maybe 1' in front of the speakers (maybe 1-2' from the wall) and about 3-5' to the side of them (closer or further from the screen).

There's nothing wrong with the Polks. They are a little bright before break-in, but otherwise are great for a surround setup. I recommend the 40s over 50s, but you should try Polk Audio Direct on Ebay and try to score some monitor 60s for the same price.

I have been looking at their store on Ebay and that is how I came up with $375 for the speakers, but it is actually $400. Why do you recommend the 40s over the 50s? If I used the 40s for front left/right, I would also need some stands or something to mount them to. Is there anything more to wall mounting the bookshelf speakers than there is to the satellites? Would I need to buy anything else to wall mount them?
 

IDversusEGO

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monitor 40's would save you some money. If I were building a budget Polk setup I would use Monitor 30s for satellites and the cs1 for center. I dont think you get enough of a benefit from dual 5.25 drivers used to create ambient noise and limited dialogue. this applies to movies as well as games. I would rather use that extra money on the sub. Its tough to find a good subs for $200-250. There are a couple that come recommended, almost all by BIC, but your selection is very restricted. Plus if you buy 4 monitor 30s now and want to upgrade to 7.1 later you can move the fronts tot he back and get some 40s or 50s if you really feel the setup was lacking with bookshelf speakers up front. I have had several setups myself including all small satelites, 3 fronts floor speakers with bookshelf surrounds in 7.1, and my current 4 bookshelf + center setup. I like my vurrent setup best because I was able to invest money where it mattered. I considered the 3 floor standing speakers to be the biggest waste. I didnt like the bassy vlaue it added to the dialogue so I tuned it down...which effectively negated the fact that they were big floor standing speakers.
 

EndersShadow

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Right now newegg has the Monitor 60's for 120 each w/ free shipping:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...90017&cm_re=monitor_60-_-82-290-017-_-Product

use promo code EMCYPNP67

pair those with a CS1 (90 w/ free shipping) or CS2 (130 w/ free shipping) and your well on your way.

For rears you could either go with Monitor 30's (110 per set) to save some cash or 40's (150 per set), either should work fine. You could also use the 40's as fronts as many folks have if you needed to save the cash.

I have a very similar setup and I am extremely happy with how it sounds and looks. My wallet is also really happy :)
 
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I have the CS2. It's a little big but it sounds really great. The thing is a steal at 130. I paid over 200 at circuit shitty a few years back for one.
 

InternationalHat

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I would probably get the Energy set until you decide to upgrade. I just trashed Polk in another thread so I won't do it again here. You can do better than those Polk Monitors for the money.
 

cnealjr

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The BIC H-100 is a great sub in your price range. I have one and absolutely love it. I wouldn't recommend Polk subs at all. Many others have recommended this sub and AVS has a thread about it too I believe. Google it up and read some reviews, but as a real world owner, it packs a serious punch in your suggested budget range.
 

EndersShadow

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I would also suggest going to Best Buy and listening to the TSI series from Polk. Its almost identical to the Monitor series, so if you like the TSI's sound the Monitors should be a good buy. I dont know of anywhere with the Energy set, but if there is a store with them hooked up go take a listen. Same goes for all the speakers we have mentioned.

Each of us have our own opinion and our own sound tastes. What matters more than our opinions is how it sounds to you. If you like how Polk sounds, buy it. If you hate Polk, but love Energy, go for it.

Our overall advice will only help you so much. The real test is your ears. If one set of speakers costs 200 dollars more than another pair but you cant tell the difference then go with the cheaper set.

As long as your happy it doesnt matter if someone else thinks your speakers suck or are overpriced.

With that said you will find the overall consesus on Polk subs is to not buy them. I say this as a somewhat dissapointed PSW125 owner.
 

IDversusEGO

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for sure, for brand choice, go with your own opinion. Everybody has different taste.
 

cnealjr

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I also own a set of the Energys and like them. Some folks are not a fan of small satellite speakers, but these are really nice speakers for their price. If you prefer a larger floor standing speaker, go listen at a big box store to get some ideas, then you can always shop price online. For the money, I am extremely happy with my Energy/BIC H-100 setup, but that's just my opinion.
 

IDversusEGO

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I also own a set of the Energys and like them. Some folks are not a fan of small satellite speakers, but these are really nice speakers for their price. If you prefer a larger floor standing speaker, go listen at a big box store to get some ideas, then you can always shop price online. For the money, I am extremely happy with my Energy/BIC H-100 setup, but that's just my opinion.

that is an excellent budget combo that beats the pants off of any HTiB solution at the same price point. It is what I want in the living room actually...once the theater is complete and I can move my main setup down there.
 

Killroy

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Now you guys have me thinking I may go with one of the following:
Energy Take 5 + BIC H100 @ ~$455
4 Polk Monitor 30s + Polk CS1 + BIC H100 @ ~$525
2 Polk Monitor 40s + 2 Monitor 30s + CS1 + BIC H100 @ ~$545
4 Polk Monitor 40s + CS1 + BIC H100 @ ~$565

The Energy speakers would save $70-$110 but the Polk options would allow for a better upgrade/addition path. Going one of these routes would put me at least $100 under my $700 budget, which my wife would like.

Because I am now planning on going with all bookshelves and satellites, how would you guys recommend setting up the front channels? Should I mount them on the front wall (possibly too far in front), on the side walls, or buy some kind of stands? Any recommendations on what do with the equipment and center channel?

Thanks again for all of the help, it is greatly appreciated!:)
 

EndersShadow

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Now you guys have me thinking I may go with one of the following:
Energy Take 5 + BIC H100 @ ~$455
4 Polk Monitor 30s + Polk CS1 + BIC H100 @ ~$525
2 Polk Monitor 40s + 2 Monitor 30s + CS1 + BIC H100 @ ~$545
4 Polk Monitor 40s + CS1 + BIC H100 @ ~$565

The Energy speakers would save $70-$110 but the Polk options would allow for a better upgrade/addition path. Going one of these routes would put me at least $100 under my $700 budget, which my wife would like.

Because I am now planning on going with all bookshelves and satellites, how would you guys recommend setting up the front channels? Should I mount them on the front wall (possibly too far in front), on the side walls, or buy some kind of stands? Any recommendations on what do with the equipment and center channel?

Thanks again for all of the help, it is greatly appreciated!:)

If you go with the Monitor 30's they all wall mount with a single nail. You can put your center either directly under the TV or on a shelf above it.

If you get some Monitor 40's you will probably want to buy/build a shelf capable of holding them. I havent found any good stands with what I consider a big enough top shelf for under $100.

I would suggest Monitor 40's for your fronts and 2 sets of Monitor 30's for side and rear surrounds. They will be easy to hang/move in the future and should provide enough sound to satisfy you.

I highly recommend going with the CS2 over the CS1 as most of your dialog comes from your center. I personally can tell the difference between the two (I have a CS1 in my bedroom and a CS2 in the main room) The front three speakers provide most of your special effects and dialog so you want to go big on them. The surrounds you can go cheaper on and not notice the difference.
 

Archmage

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BIC H-100 is definitely a good buy. I think there is an ebay reseller offering free shipping, and a "Best Offer" - I hear a seller has taken as low as $190 in the past, but I'm not sure if this is the same guy now.

I see that the Energy speakers use 3" drivers. It's extremely difficult to produce good sound at SPL-levels to match that Bic H-100 using a 3" driver. As a DIY-audio type of guy, I can tell you that among the best 3" drivers are the HiVi B3S, a few MCM 4" woofers that perhaps are passing as 3", Fountek FR88-EX, Dayton RS100, and TangBand W3-1364S (With the Fountek and Dayton probably at the top, and the MCM and HiVi at the bottom). All of these drivers are great values, and MCM and TangBand are commonly used in commercial speakers, so perhaps Energy is using an MCM-derivative... hopefully.

I'm hoping that Polk is using something similar to the MCM 55-3870 in their 5.25" monitor line, because then the choice would be clear: Polk over Energy. Unfortunately I have no idea what Polk is using... I can only say that their speakers resemble this MCM: http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/MCM-AUDIO-SELECT-55-3870-/55-3870

From the perspective of someone who has considerable speaker-building experience: A 3" driver is a huge compromise, and will struggle in the lower midrange and midbass frequencies. I personally think 5.25" drivers are small, in a 2-way design, but I've designed some successful speakers of that size. I'd use a 3" for compactness and nothing else.

Edit: It generally would not be ideal to wall-mount speakers, but if you must... this is a budget system anyway (I would place the back of the speakers at least 2ft from the rear wall, and 3ft from the sides).

For reference, here is the Frequency response of the Dayton B652 mounted on a wall: http://zaphaudio.com/Dayton-B652-FR-measured-onwall.gif - and then NOT on a wall: http://zaphaudio.com/Dayton-B652-FR-measured.gif
and then the author's comment which explains the discrepancy: "Can people please stop mounting rectangular speakers on the wall. This system comes with a wall hanging hook on the back. Don't use it if you care at all about sound quality. As is always typical when placing a rectangular speaker on a wall, the lower mids disappear and the upper mids get peaky. Where this happens depends on the depth of the enclosure. I tried to listen to this system mounted on a wall and it was horribly colored. The real problem is that the primary reflection is early and dominates the room response. With typical mounting on a stand, this is not nearly as much of a problem."

- OH, and a symmetrical center-channel (mid-tweet-mid) will sound better than one that has simply a single woofer and tweeter.
 
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IDversusEGO

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For reference, here is the Frequency response of the Dayton B652 mounted on a wall: http://zaphaudio.com/Dayton-B652-FR-measured-onwall.gif - and then NOT on a wall: http://zaphaudio.com/Dayton-B652-FR-measured.gif
and then the author's comment which explains the discrepancy: "Can people please stop mounting rectangular speakers on the wall. This system comes with a wall hanging hook on the back. Don't use it if you care at all about sound quality. As is always typical when placing a rectangular speaker on a wall, the lower mids disappear and the upper mids get peaky. Where this happens depends on the depth of the enclosure. I tried to listen to this system mounted on a wall and it was horribly colored. The real problem is that the primary reflection is early and dominates the room response. With typical mounting on a stand, this is not nearly as much of a problem."

This presents a problem if you are following the THX speaker placement guidelines. Fro a 5.1, THX.com says "Surround Left & Right Speakers (SL & SR): Place the SL & SR speakers between 90° to 110° to each side and 2 feet or higher above the listener." For a 7.1 it states this about the rear surrounds - "Surround Back Left & Right Speakers (SBL & SBR)*: The SBL & SBR speakers should be the direct firing type and placed together on the back wall. This allows the THX Advanced Speaker Array, or ASA technology to deliver its maximum effect. If the SBL and the SBR speakers can not be placed together, refer to your THX Certified Pre-amplifier or Receiver’s “THX Set Up” menu for alternative configurations." Mounting a speaker 2ft sticking out of the wall is a bit difficult, not to mention hideous looking. so what is a recommended solution? non rectangular speakers? would that resolve the response variances seen in the graphs? Do you have the article source? not doubting what you are saying, just wanting more info so I can find a solution.


EDIT - Also, does the tester use anything other than the Daytons? Those are very cheap speakers ($25 a pair) and the resonance on the enclosures could be an issue. An enclosure is supposed to offer an even density surface for the speakers to resonate. A cheap cardboard backing plate could explain this issue. I would expect an enclosure that is built of MDF or some other more dense material would reduce the frequency variations when put against a wall, especially if it isnt a rear-ported speaker. These Daytons appear to be a sealed speaker.
 
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Trepidati0n

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If you really want bang for the buck, stay away from any big name speaker if you can. I know that Energy, Polk, etc can put out a good speaker....but you are paying a premium for it. In the modest price range arena...look for the smaller ma/pa type shop speakers. AVS will be able to help you sort through them, just make sure you do a little research and then make a post with your budget.
 

IDversusEGO

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If you really want bang for the buck, stay away from any big name speaker if you can. I know that Energy, Polk, etc can put out a good speaker....but you are paying a premium for it. In the modest price range arena...look for the smaller ma/pa type shop speakers. AVS will be able to help you sort through them, just make sure you do a little research and then make a post with your budget.

I somewhat agree with this. My biggest problem with those is that you ahve to internet only. budget usually means intro...and for that I recommend listening to speakers so you can find your preference.
 

Killroy

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This presents a problem if you are following the THX speaker placement guidelines. Fro a 5.1, THX.com says "Surround Left & Right Speakers (SL & SR): Place the SL & SR speakers between 90° to 110° to each side and 2 feet or higher above the listener." For a 7.1 it states this about the rear surrounds - "Surround Back Left & Right Speakers (SBL & SBR)*: The SBL & SBR speakers should be the direct firing type and placed together on the back wall. This allows the THX Advanced Speaker Array, or ASA technology to deliver its maximum effect. If the SBL and the SBR speakers can not be placed together, refer to your THX Certified Pre-amplifier or Receiver’s “THX Set Up” menu for alternative configurations." Mounting a speaker 2ft sticking out of the wall is a bit difficult, not to mention hideous looking. so what is a recommended solution? non rectangular speakers? would that resolve the response variances seen in the graphs? Do you have the article source? not doubting what you are saying, just wanting more info so I can find a solution.

I was wondering the same thing, only not quite so in depth. :p
Unfortunately, my media room will not accommodate the surrounds being mounted anywhere other than the wall and other than the center seat in each row, the front of the surround speakers will be at a sharp angle to the listeners.

I somewhat agree with this. My biggest problem with those is that you ahve to internet only. budget usually means intro...and for that I recommend listening to speakers so you can find your preference.

I am going to try to listen to at least the Polks before I purchase anything, I just need to find somewhere that has them. Anyone know of a good place in Houston or maybe on the south side of Houston (I live in Alvin)? Or if someone has them and wants to show off their setup?

Thanks again!
 

EndersShadow

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I was wondering the same thing, only not quite so in depth. :p
Unfortunately, my media room will not accommodate the surrounds being mounted anywhere other than the wall and other than the center seat in each row, the front of the surround speakers will be at a sharp angle to the listeners.



I am going to try to listen to at least the Polks before I purchase anything, I just need to find somewhere that has them. Anyone know of a good place in Houston or maybe on the south side of Houston (I live in Alvin)? Or if someone has them and wants to show off their setup?

Thanks again!

Go to Best Buy. They carry the TSi line which is extremely similar to the Monitor line. The TSi line is what they replaced the Monitor line with. Sonically they should sound very similar if not identical. I know Fryes (here in IN) carries them as well so if you have one nearby go take a listen.
 

Killroy

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Go to Best Buy. They carry the TSi line which is extremely similar to the Monitor line. The TSi line is what they replaced the Monitor line with. Sonically they should sound very similar if not identical. I know Fryes (here in IN) carries them as well so if you have one nearby go take a listen.

There are two Fry's and two Best Buys within 45 minutes of my house, so I will definitely try to swing by one of them. I'm going to my parents' house for the weekend though, so I won't be able to until next week but that will give me more time to do some research.
 

IDversusEGO

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Might want to call the best buys...they can vary in what they stock. I don't remember seeing the polks at mine. I could be wrong though.
 

Archmage

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Do you have the article source?


http://zaphaudio.com/ - general site

http://zaphaudio.com/Dayton-B652.html - Review in question

* And this is a general rule actually - NOT to place speakers against the wall. He states that the issue is created by an overbearing reflection (OFF the wall) dominating the room response. I've built enough speakers to know that this is not isolated to the case of this particular speaker, and it is not an artifact of the cheapy enclosure.

How to solve this? People generally use Speaker stands. If this isn't possible due to space constraints, then extended shelves (not as optimal, and quite ugly IMO). In any case... this is a budget build, so I doubt it'd matter much. I understand the desire for wall-mounting in a cramped room. Here is some support:

Speaker Designer Ted Jordan (created Jordan loudspeakers = DIY full-range) is of the mind that, " It is also strongly recommended (again, against all convention) that loudspeakers be placed as close to a wall as possible. The simple reason for this is that wall reflections will create two further 'virtual' loudspeakers that will create severe interference and impair spatiality. (The ideal, if impractical solution is to mount the drivers in the wall)." - He is agreeing that the walls create reflections, but his approach is different.

- Some people agree with this, but it IS against convention. Mounting directly In-Wall creates, effectively, a gigantic baffle...I do think this would be better than placing an enclosure against a wall, but still not ideal.

- To better simulate the spatial image and improve frequency response instead of utterly ruining it, one could instead use a dipole speaker configuration, placed away from the walls. That's open to debate, but it works in my experience (it's the reason Linkwitz has adopted dipole designs).

Here's a generic conventional loudspeaker placement guide: http://www.audioholics.com/tweaks/speaker-setup-guidelines/loudspeaker-placement-guide

If you search, you can confirm that this is indeed the convention.

http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/waspe.html - Here is a more specific guide with some relatively big names in support (Lynn Olson, Wilson Audio...)

Edit: I actually think there should be some better guides available, and but I've forgotten their location. In all my systems I've just used microphones to tune...
Edit 2: And now I'm too far off-topic... so... I guess it's time to stop discussing this...
Edit 3: Couldn't help it... a guide which shows speakers placed against the walls, posted on the [H]: http://www.hardocp.com/news/2010/03/24/building_home_theater
 
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IDversusEGO

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Your audiholics link both supports and disputes your statements. It says that it may be negative for frequency response but recommends it anyway.

Once you determine what your theater will be like and which speakers you will use then you will have to figure out placement. We do not recommend placement based entirely on frequency response, but rather based on listener position. Dipoles are the easiest to place. If there is one row of seating the center of the dipole should be parallel to that row. If there are two rows, it should be between the two, approximately 2/3 back from the first row. Dipoles can either be ceiling mounted or wall mounted. Wall mounted is generally preferred and the dipole should be at approximately the listener's ear height or sometimes slightly higher. In these cases we do want the reflective surfaces near the speakers as this reinforces this channel, and it is not designed to have much in the way of clarity. It is really designed for effects. It is interesting to play the rear channels of a movie soundtrack through the main speakers with all other channels off. This way you can hear how little information and typically limited bandwidth these tracks have on them. It is also for this reason; we do not recommend spending large sums on the speakers for the rear.
 
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Archmage

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To be honest... I didn't read the whole thing... I just googled it for that post alone. As I said, I don't care much for these guides.

You're right. This speaker configuration does exactly that - negatively affects frequency response, yet "reinforces" those channels... it's up to the user to decide what is desirable, but it's clearly a negative for music, and I'm arguing the same case for movies.

Perhaps I'm too rooted in musical reproduction to see that there are severely conflicting viewpoints regarding speaker placement in theater. I'll agree that there seems to be no dominant convention due to varying room sizes, quality of gear, user experience...however I feel I can represent the DIY-crowd. I personally think this "reinforcement' is a mistake. I've tried it... it sounds bloated and imbalanced, and it's reflected in objective measurements. I think it's a terrible method to virtually widen and deepen the sound stage...

Edit: After reading a bit of the article... well I don't feel like reading through the whole article to confirm my suspicions, but perhaps I shouldn't have linked that article, and perhaps it should be avoided. For more accurate Dipole information: http://www.musicanddesign.com/index.html + http://www.linkwitzlab.com/ - also has some good information on monopole and dipole room setup: http://www.linkwitzlab.com/rooms.htm - I should have just linked him first, but as you might have guessed... he represents the majority-DIY perspective, and doesn't often concern himself with surround speakers.

Edit 2: I should mention that it's probably pointless to discuss dipoles due to the loss of efficiency. They're not practical for most people, and some experts don't even use them or like them (Dr. Earl Geddes, for one).
 
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IDversusEGO

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Let me start by saying I think you have shown much data to support that speakers mounted directly on the wall can impact the frequency response. The only thing I am not sold on is whether this is important enough for theater application in rear surrounds to justify sacrificing the soundstage that the audio was originally encoded for.


it's clearly a negative for music
agreed. I run my music in stereo mode on the rare occasion that I use my theater setup for music

I'm arguing the same case for movies.
I disagree. The audioholics had a couple of good points even if it wasnt thouroughly accurate. The most important is where it mentions how little sound actually comes out of the rears in a movie situation. do the test they suggest...play a movie and unplug everything but the rears. there is very little actually coming from them. Thats why these new soundbars can emulate surround sound. Its also why you can actually get pretty good results from a 3.1 (thats L/C/R and sub). The sacrifice in soundsage and theater design is not worth the improved frequency response when reproducing a footstep or a cracking branch.

Perhaps I'm too rooted in musical reproduction to see that there are severely conflicting viewpoints regarding speaker placement in theater.
agree. not slamming, just saying I think your perspective is skewed towards a well rounded system, not a theater specific one.

I'll agree that there seems to be no dominant convention
disagree. If I am correctly understanding, you are sayign there is no dominant convention for theater speaker placement. that is false. THX has a standard and the majority of theater builders, DIY and Pro, follow it. Go check here for some overwhelming examples of DIYers using the THX standard.

For more accurate Dipole information: http://www.musicanddesign.com/index.html + http://www.linkwitzlab.com/ - also has some good information on monopole and dipole room setup: http://www.linkwitzlab.com/rooms.htm - I should have just linked him first, but as you might have guessed... he represents the majority-DIY perspective, and doesn't often concern himself with surround speakers.
if he doesn't concern himself with surround speakers, he is not an acceptable reference for theater design. I skimmed the article and from what I see he is directly addressing musical reproduction.


to get a more down to earth comparison...yes, a corvette would get better gas mileage if you babied the accelerator...but thats not why you buy a vette and thats not what the engine was made for. To get the true vette experience you need to drive less efficiently and just have some fun.
 

wavewerx

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This is probably out of your budget but worth considering:

http://www.svsound.com/products-sys-sbs_black.cfm

I stopped reading hear so forgive me if this was already thrown out.

I have the Polk Monitor 50's for fronts, the CS1 for center, Monitor 30s on stand for rears. I also run HSU STF-2 subwoofer. I didn't like the way the Polk one sounded and after plenty of reviews decided to go for this one instead of the BIC H-100 or the SVS one.

My dad bought the SVS system and the speakers blew mine out of the water! I still favor my sub (I feel mine's more musical rather than theater which was my primary focus) but the sound out of the SVS bookshelves is excellent. I would really save up a few more dollars and go this route.

The SVS bookshelves feel like they have more power and soundstage. They also do a better job reproducing lows than my Monitor 50's.

I pieced my setup over the course of 2 years on a college kid budget. While I love my Polk setup and it does a great job, for just a little change more, the SVS setup is considerably better.
 

Mr. Wolf

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I give huge mega-props to SVS speakers. Late last year I bought one of their PB-10 subwoofers. It's like having a personal earthquake generator. Just a few days ago, I bought a pair of their new SCS-01 M speakers (front left and right) and am amazed at how good they sound. They simply blow away my PSB B25 bookshelves... which I've got listed in the For Sale thread, BTW. ;)
 
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