I need some advice for a speaker setup.

mreed018

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Jan 27, 2015
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Hi,
I am setting up my first "non system in a box" setup. I currently have an Onkyo 7.1 receiver and a Monster brand massive sub. Both were given to me recently. As for speakers, I am currently using cheap sony bookshelf ones for now. I saw that newegg has Polk monitor 40 speakers on sale for 119.99 and the cs1 center for 59.99 which seems good based on what I see elsewhere.

My question is, would this be a wise start to a budget system? My other option would be to buy a better center than the cs1 and continue to use my cheap speakers for a bit since I am new at this and have read that the center is the most important. I know the cs1 is a good speaker, but I think the Monitor 40s are above it (polk isnt too clear with their models between the tsi, ts, monitor...)

Also should tell you that this is used for gaming, movies and sometimes music. This is in a larger bedroom where the average speaker is about 8 ft away. Sound quality is most important to me.
Thank You for your help.
 

ien2222

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Mar 28, 2010
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Hey there,

Sorry I was gone last half of the week.

It's not that Polk are bad speakers, as I said above if you've heard them and like how they sound, then there's no compelling reason not to go with them. Ultimately you have to like how speakers sound and there are people who do like Polk.

$200/speaker is a decent budget to work with and it gives you some good options.

The first one I'll suggest is the Affordable Accuracy speakers from Philharmonic Audio. They are modified Pioneer speakers with upgraded tweeters and crossovers.
http://philharmonicaudio.com/
The monitor bookshelves are $165/pr and the center is $100 (+whatever it is to ship).

Next is the R5Bi bookshelves from EMP TEK with the R5Ci center.
http://emptek.com/impseries.php
The bookshelves are $225/pr and the center is $195. These are excellent speakers for the price and rather popular on other forums. Unfortunately they are currently sold out and not expecting stock until March. They had a special going on in Nov/Dec and probably didn't anticipate the kind of demand they got.

Also, there's the HTD Level 3 bookshelves and Center.
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers
These are very capable speakers also. I'm not sure if aesthetics matter that much to you, but the wood veneers they do are very good. It's a little more expensive to do at times, but always worth it if it matters at all to you. Right now they are offering it in a Macassar Ebony veneer that looks gorgeous. The speakers are $319/pr for the Bookshelves and $209 for the center. It's a $30 upgrade for the Macassar veneer for both.

Hsu Audio also does a good speaker and uses Rosenut as an optional veneer.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/speakers.html
They cost $159 each for the bookshelf and $249 for the center. The Rosenut is an extra $30 and $40 respectively.

Ascend Acoustic's CBM-170 SE bookshelves.
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/
I'm not going to lie, these are not pretty speakers. However they are exceptional sounding speakers for the price point. They are $348/pr and $188 for a single (which you would use as a center)

Finally, there's NHT.
http://www.nhthifi.com/
Here, you have the SuperOne's, Absolute Zero's, and Classic Two's. I have three listed because I tend to recommend the B-stock that they clearance out and it just depends on what's there and what they list it for. Generally the B stock items simply have a couple of minor flaws in the finish. For NHT, just so you know, all prices are for single speakers unless specifically stated.

As for what I recommend, depends are what you're going after. First thing that could matter is that the Philharmonic, Emp Tek, Hsu, and Ascend speakers are rear ported, so they will need to be about 4-8 inches off the wall. The HTD is front ported, and the NHT's are sealed so they can be right up next to the wall. Not sure if this would matter but it's something you should to know about.

Otherwise if you are trying to keep the costs down, the AA's from Philharmonic are the way to go. For 5.0 under $500 you really aren't going to do much better unless you go the used route. If you want really stupid loud :), the Hsu's speakers are the most efficient and easier to drive.

You won't go wrong with any of these choices, my top two picks would probably be the Emp Tek's or HTD's. The Emp's are probably a bit better value for the dollar spent, but the HTD's have a decent ribbon tweeter (I prefer ribbon and planar tweeters).
 

adamwinn

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Dec 31, 2007
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The Polk CS1 is decent, but not that rich. For a budget system it's a great start. The Monitor 40s are really sweet. $119 is a great price.

I'd get the 40's, and save up a little for a slightly better center channel. Ideally timbre-matched to your 40's (so it would need to be Polk Monitor series as well)
 

ien2222

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Mar 28, 2010
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Hey there,

What's your budget like? Currently you have $180 listed, is this roughly the top of what you want to spend right now? How much are you willing to spend later?

Personally, I'd advise against the Polks. The lower end lines generally aren't worth the money you pay for them compared to other brands, it's not until you get to the Rti series that they become a consideration. However, if you've heard them before and liked them, then I'd say go for it.
 

mreed018

Estimable
Jan 27, 2015
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I think I will grab the 40s. Also they just dropped the CS2 to $79. I figure might as well for 20 bucks. Worst case, I can use it in another setup down the road. Do you think thats a better match?
 

mreed018

Estimable
Jan 27, 2015
6
0
4,520
1


I am looking to build this up over time spending a couple hundred here and there. Honestly I am not an enthusiast when it comes to sound, but I do like when I can hear everything clearly in movies and games. I have heard nothing but good things about Polk which is why I am looking at their products. What other brands do you suggest in the under 200 per speaker dept?
 

ien2222

Distinguished
Mar 28, 2010
465
0
19,260
77
Hey there,

Sorry I was gone last half of the week.

It's not that Polk are bad speakers, as I said above if you've heard them and like how they sound, then there's no compelling reason not to go with them. Ultimately you have to like how speakers sound and there are people who do like Polk.

$200/speaker is a decent budget to work with and it gives you some good options.

The first one I'll suggest is the Affordable Accuracy speakers from Philharmonic Audio. They are modified Pioneer speakers with upgraded tweeters and crossovers.
http://philharmonicaudio.com/
The monitor bookshelves are $165/pr and the center is $100 (+whatever it is to ship).

Next is the R5Bi bookshelves from EMP TEK with the R5Ci center.
http://emptek.com/impseries.php
The bookshelves are $225/pr and the center is $195. These are excellent speakers for the price and rather popular on other forums. Unfortunately they are currently sold out and not expecting stock until March. They had a special going on in Nov/Dec and probably didn't anticipate the kind of demand they got.

Also, there's the HTD Level 3 bookshelves and Center.
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers
These are very capable speakers also. I'm not sure if aesthetics matter that much to you, but the wood veneers they do are very good. It's a little more expensive to do at times, but always worth it if it matters at all to you. Right now they are offering it in a Macassar Ebony veneer that looks gorgeous. The speakers are $319/pr for the Bookshelves and $209 for the center. It's a $30 upgrade for the Macassar veneer for both.

Hsu Audio also does a good speaker and uses Rosenut as an optional veneer.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/speakers.html
They cost $159 each for the bookshelf and $249 for the center. The Rosenut is an extra $30 and $40 respectively.

Ascend Acoustic's CBM-170 SE bookshelves.
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/
I'm not going to lie, these are not pretty speakers. However they are exceptional sounding speakers for the price point. They are $348/pr and $188 for a single (which you would use as a center)

Finally, there's NHT.
http://www.nhthifi.com/
Here, you have the SuperOne's, Absolute Zero's, and Classic Two's. I have three listed because I tend to recommend the B-stock that they clearance out and it just depends on what's there and what they list it for. Generally the B stock items simply have a couple of minor flaws in the finish. For NHT, just so you know, all prices are for single speakers unless specifically stated.

As for what I recommend, depends are what you're going after. First thing that could matter is that the Philharmonic, Emp Tek, Hsu, and Ascend speakers are rear ported, so they will need to be about 4-8 inches off the wall. The HTD is front ported, and the NHT's are sealed so they can be right up next to the wall. Not sure if this would matter but it's something you should to know about.

Otherwise if you are trying to keep the costs down, the AA's from Philharmonic are the way to go. For 5.0 under $500 you really aren't going to do much better unless you go the used route. If you want really stupid loud :), the Hsu's speakers are the most efficient and easier to drive.

You won't go wrong with any of these choices, my top two picks would probably be the Emp Tek's or HTD's. The Emp's are probably a bit better value for the dollar spent, but the HTD's have a decent ribbon tweeter (I prefer ribbon and planar tweeters).
 

mreed018

Estimable
Jan 27, 2015
6
0
4,520
1
Thanks for all of the info. The EMP look pretty nice. I ended up getting the Polk monitor cs2 for the center and rti8 towers for the front. Since I am slowly becoming obsessed, I am putting together a second system for another room and still need to pick up some new rears for this set up. The info you gave is going to go to good use.





 

ien2222

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Mar 28, 2010
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Glad I could help out.

Just be careful with your obsession, this can be a very expensive hobby :D
Currently I'm sort of debating getting the Sierra-2's from Ascend...but that's $2300 for the front three, and I could get a lot of other things for that much. But I love music and this would be sooo good to get. Ah well. :)

If you have other questions, just ask.
 

ien2222

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Mar 28, 2010
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Oh btw,

It usually doesn't occur to me to include this, but for future reference if you do woodworking, or don't mind trying it out there's kits you can get that you can put together.

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/

Depending on how much you want to do yourself you can buy just the drivers and crossovers and do the whole cabinet yourself, or you can also get the flat packs and assemble the cabinets and just add what finish you'd like to have, be it paint or veneer.

These are excellent value for the dollar spent, usually far more anything I listed above or really anything else in the sub $1500/pr range*.



*Unless you go all expensive exotic on the finish
 
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