Allocating Money for Speakers [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-11-2004, 03:33 PM
I'm buying a 5.1 system. I'll mainly use it for home theatre. It will be in my family room, which has 10 foot ceilings. It's probably 12 feet deep and 23 feet long (it opens into a kitchen and breakfast area). I'm planning on the Yamaha RX-V1300 receiver ($600). I'm leaning towards an HSU or SVS box subwoofer ($500-$600). I'd like to keep my total costs under $2000, which gives me about $800 to play with. Several questions:

1. Am I insane in allocating my money this way? Should I decrease my subwoofer investment in favor of improving the remaining speakers?

2. If not, what brands would people recommend for the other five speakers? I'm somewhat interested in BIC or JBL right now, but don't know if they're a good fit, given my other needs.

02-11-2004, 04:17 PM
Let's go back to $1400 (before you buy the Hsu) and talk about the recently discontinued JBL S Series speakers. They're still widley available, often at nice discounts, and a complete 5.1 system, including the excellent S Center II and S120PII powered sub, will be well within your range.

The Hsu is a very nice sub, so I'm not knocking it. Nevertheless, I've usually favored a consistency in my speaker systems' sonic signatures, so my choice would be to go with all JBL.

If you choose the Hsu anyway, the S series will be better all around AND better at complementing the Hsu than BIC. That's one man's opinion.

02-11-2004, 05:38 PM
Thanks. I'm looking at the JBL Studio series and am intrigued by it. One big potential problem: Our rear speakers will have to either hang from the ceiling or be in it. That's the bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that the rear speakers will be only slightly behind our sofa. They will be about 3 feet from the back wall. Unfortunately, we are stuck with the wiring that the previous owners left. I'm hesitant to put in a big-time rear speaker if it will be dangling from the ceiling. Should I just go with ceiling speakers? If so, how important is it to mate those speakers to the front ones?

02-12-2004, 06:16 AM
First things first, the HSU is by far a better sub than the JBL. Though it often is nice to do the subwoofer does not need to be the same brand as the speakers. At 2,750 cubic feet opening up into a larger area, my guess is you are looking at closer to 4,000 cubic feet for the sub to fill. This means you will need a more powerful sub, perhaps something along the lines of the HSU VTF-3 MK2 ( It currently is going for $700 shipped. For speakers, especially in the world of HT, I am rather fond of the ones I have and would recommend either the ceramic or wood nOrh ( 4.0 video package that goes for $850 delivered. You either will love or hate the looks but they are made for HT. They are also excellent for music, too. :) This leaves us with $450 to spend on a receiver. The Marantz SR4400 ( goes for $399 delivered and still leaves you with $50 to spend on cables or a couple movies.

02-12-2004, 11:23 AM
Have you considered looking at Denon receivers? The AVR-2803 is advertised at $700 ($100 off / usually dealers will negotiate on price, especially if you tell them you saw it advertised somewhere else for less, it helps if you have the ad). In terms of speakers there are several sub/sat systems out there that come in under the $1300 price range but would still give you good performance. The sub may not be as tight as you want it to be though. I would consider purchasing a sub/sat system sub-less and buy a sub that you like later on. I've really been happy with Definitive Technology speakers, in terms of quality and the willingness of people to negotiate on prices. In the price range you have several choices. The ProMonitor series is good for HT. I would go with the ProMonitor 200s MSRP $225/ea Frequency Response 28hz - 30,000hz for the fronts, at least a ProCenter C2 MSRP $299 Frequency Response 45hz - 30,000, and Promonitor 100s MSRP $179/ea Frequency Response 50hz - 30,000. That comes to $1807. I would then save for either a Definitive Technology Super Cube subwoofer or other quality sub that you enjoy. The SuperCube II is $900 and has tight, clean and LOW bass. I would stay away from the ProSubs which dealers will try to sell with the Promonitor series. They tend to be a little muddy. Also, you can usually get Definitive Technology speakers for at least 20% off. This would take about $200 or so off the $1807. Hope all of this helps.

02-12-2004, 06:34 PM
"First things first, the HSU is by far a better sub than the JBL." (Bryan)


I've been to HSU Research in Anaheim, CA and JBL in Northridge, CA (among other places) and listened to virtually every line and model in their auditioning rooms. Took my own source material, which the reps at each place graciously allowed me to play. Under some playing conditions, a comparably priced HSU sub sounds better than its JBL counterpart; in others it does not. To say the HSU is a far better sub represents a comparative listening experience that Bryan has had somewhere that I cannot support from my own experience.

Yes, I read magazines and reviews praising the HSU or the SVS or the (fill in name here), but I like to let my ears do the listening and the speakers do the talking.

In any event, the HSU VTF-3 MK2 has some advantages (longer warranty as an example) and shortcomings (less power as an example), but either sub will work well for you; however, the JBL can be had for about 50-60% of the HSU's price, shipped, and you can buy it right now. The VTF-3 is backordered to the end of the month, and apparently that entire shipment will go to fulfill standing orders. If you can spend the extra money and wait the extra time, Bryan's opinion is as good as mine.

As for your question about wall or ceiling mounting the rear speakers, the Studio Series S36 models have mounting holes in their enclosures and can be mounted up high if need be.

I respect your original choices (Yamaha, HSU, SVS, JBL, BIC) because you've done some work to get to that point, then asked for some clarity. Each of us might want to steer you to our personal faves, but unless someone tells you outright that you're making a BIG MISTAKE with your choices (you're NOT, BTW), I recommend you follow your own thinking here. Make yourself happy, not us.

The thing about this hobby is that we all believe in what we have, at least until we get something else.

02-13-2004, 06:39 AM
Assuming your receiver is fixed then you have $1400. For your room, if you are not a bass freak I think you can get away with $400 Hsu STF2. Otherwise get Hsu STF3. The rest I would allocate like this:
Front bookshelf speakers: $450
Center: $300
Rear: $150
Balance is for cabling, bracket etc.
As for brand, you can consider Paradigm, Polk, Infinity, JBL, Athena, etc you better listen yourself to decide. The main thing is that center speaker has to match the front for seamless panning. Get the rear speaker from the same brand but lower series to save money.
Good luck