Recommendations on Complete system with 5K budget [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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12-14-2008, 08:30 PM
Thank you in advance for your help, I need it. I live in an area where I am not able to demo speakers. So, I am going to purchase a used pair of fronts, center speaker, sub, pre-amp, something to handle 5.1 processing, and amp without auditioning any of the gear. I have rears I plan to use already. Here is what I am dealing with
-Total budget 5,000 - will be purchasing in Dec off audiogon or similar site
-30% listening will be HT, 70% will be 2 channel – smooth jazz, classic rock, house music
-Room size is 14 x 18 with 9 ft ceilings, on either side of the 14ft walls is a fireplace and 18 ft away is the TV. The softa sits against the 18 ft wall. So I turn my head on way to see the fireplace and the other for the 52” TV. Room layout is very difficult, they didn’t have TV when this house was built. Also in the room are two small swivel chairs, 9ft wide console, and a 9x10 rug over the wood floors. Speakers will not be on the rug.
-Speakers will sit 9 feet apart (there will be a console between them with a 52inch TV); I will sit approx 10 ft from speakers.
-Have an old (80’s) set of Klipsch KG-3 floorstanding speakers today powered by a Carver amp.
-Speakers will need ability to handle music at high levels. During parties, the music does get fairly loud – generally playing disco music or Top 40 when this happens.
-Speaker size – HEIGHT - prefer not to go over 44 inches high, DEEP - only have 24 inches deep to deal with (if the speaker is 10 deep then I will only be able to pull it out 14 inches from the wall) WIDE – under 12 inches wide
-I have listened to the old Revel F30’s and liked them. I have listened to Martin Logan’s and Magnapan 1.6 and did not like what I heard. Prefer floorstanding. Enjoyed listened to Vandersteen 3A Sigs, but they are too wide.
-Would like to put largest % of money into the fronts (2k), I have been checking out online the Revel (F32), Tyler Acoustics (Linbrook System II or Signature System), Sonus Faber (Grand Piano), Monitor Audio, B&W (7NT, 804) , Paradigm (Studio 60/100), Dynaudio, Thiel, and Zu Audio (Druids).
Please recommend what may fit these needs the best for speakers, preamp, 5.1 processor, amp (power fronts and center). Again, thank you.

12-15-2008, 04:45 PM
Entry, that's a lot of ground to cover. I suggest you split this into three threads: one in the speakers section, one in the HT section, and one in the amps/preamps section. This will get you better answers.

From what you wrote, it sounds like you're pretty set on the Revels, so why not go with them and move onto the other components?

Mr Peabody
12-15-2008, 07:11 PM
Out of the speakers you listed which ones did you like? Paradigm would be the most efficient, play louder with same input power.

Do you like your Klipsch? . You could contact Klipsch to get a recommendation on what center might match. Keep them for your front, use the Carver to power the rear speakers and then buy a 3 channel power amp for the front, or 5 channel if you will eventual want 7.1

What features are you going to need in a preamp? Is you TV high def, are you wanting to use HDMI?

There are so many ways you could go. You need to start narrowing the field by deciding what it is you have to have in features etc. As an example, you know you need a certain speaker by the dimensions you have to work with. By deciding on speaker, you can then make a decision on what you can get away with for an amp. As an example your amp wouldn't need to be as powerful if using Klipsch but using Thiel or Dynaudio you would want some quality watts. You don't want to spend money on a preamp to find later it doesn't have features you really need, what are going to be plugging into it, gaming, DVD, Blu-ray, turntable, SACD, etc.

12-15-2008, 09:43 PM
Look into the new PSB Imagine line for speakers. Consider an Emotiva power amp, its a lot of bang for the buck.
Going with one of these power amps will leave you more money for some of the more expensive speakers on your list.

12-16-2008, 05:01 AM
I think you should decide on the Speakers first and then find equipment to drive them...

Since you like Revel, then you could either stick with the F30 combo on audiogon etc... or you could try the newer and cheaper Concerta Series... You might be shocked at how close the Concerta comes to the Performa Series for a mere fraction of the price... I've compared the Concerta F12 with the Performa F32 & M22 and unless I really had money burning a hole in my pocket, I'd opt for the Concerta... Also, the first review I read of the F12 was by a reviewer who previously owned the Performa F30, then changed them to the PSB Gold Stratus and at the end of the review bought the Concerta F12 and ditched the PSBs.

Oh, based on what I wrote above, you might also want to consider PSB...

12-16-2008, 08:16 AM
Monitor Audio makes some nice HT speakers.

12-16-2008, 08:23 AM
Monitor Audio makes some nice HT speakers.

IMO, Monitor Audio makes great speakers, but for the OP (and anyone for that matter) I'd strongly suggest auditioning them before buying, as they sound very different from Revel.

audio amateur
12-16-2008, 08:33 AM
The new line of speakers from SVS, technically speaking, look like a bargain. How many 1K bookshelves have 200$ tweeters? It'd be interesting to read some reviews on them.

12-16-2008, 08:12 PM
Thanks for everyone's response. I have narrowed down the speakers to the following, let me know your thoughts.
Vandersteen 2CE Sig - used $1,200
Tyler Acoustics New D2 $3,200
Monitor Audio RS8 - used $1,000
Revel F32 - used $2,000
Zu Audio Druid - used $1,800

Mr Peabody
12-16-2008, 09:35 PM
Have you actually heard any of these you listed? The reason I asked some of them are drastically different than others. Personally I'd take almost anything over Vandersteen.

Doc Sage
12-17-2008, 12:16 PM
If this was me I would start with the speakers. It is recommended that you allocate 60% of your budget to the speakers. You have a great choice at $3000-. Keep in mind the "wife factor". If this apply to you, you may have to go with satelites and sub.

Now it's time to a lot of speakers. Select three or four of your favorite recordings and hit the shops. Ask the salesperson when it would be a good time to listen to a few selection of his in a separate room of a similar dimention as your room. Take your time, you will be living with your choice a very long time. Do not make a choice till you listen to 6 or more systems. In time you will know what works for you. Bass reflex or seal? Multiple smaller woofers (2 X 6.5" or 2 X 8") or a 12". Planar, mini monitors or floor standing?

Once you have a speaker in mind you will know your amp requirement and a good choice of sources.

Enjoy the search.
Doc Sage

12-19-2008, 10:05 AM
Definitely decide on speakers first. You're all over the place with your choices. I might be off base here, but there's a good chance you're not going to use the the same amp for the Zu's as you would the Revels or Tylers. Zu's are an EXTREMELY efficient speaker, great if you're tubin' it. I'd go ss for any of the others though.

12-23-2008, 06:35 PM
Thanks to all that responded. Today I listened to B&W 804's, Vandersteen 2CE, Revel F52, and Paradigm Studio 100's. I listened to a couple tracks from Sting, Dire Straits, Marcy Gray, and Victor Wooten)
(Excuse my lack of style/definition in describing what I heard)
B&W - filled the room with a large sound, but were too bright, colored, in "in my face" for my ears.
Vandersteen 2CE - sounded great with well recorded music, terrible with other poorly recorded music. They are very critical. I would have to go with the 3A's, but on the fence with Vandersteen.
Paradigm Studio 100's - Little sloppy sounding, not clear.
Revel F52 - Seemed in the middle of the Vandersteen and B&Ws. Handled all music well, music was rounded and warm, great range high/low/mid. Really liked the classic rock I threw at it. This speaker is huge though, not sure I have the room in my 14x19 room and I can only have a total of 26 inches of depth to deal with.
When I got home I did the same audition with my current Klipsch KG3's. The Revel's were the closest sounding to my KG3's, funny how your ear is trained to what it is used to hearing. I played trombone in a jazz band for several years, I like warm mids and lows.

Based on this anyone have any other speakers I should try to listen to? How about an opinion between the Revel F32 and F52?

Mr Peabody
12-23-2008, 07:13 PM
Were these hooked to the same amp and CD player? If not, you were not really comparing the speakers, you were comparing total systems.

12-23-2008, 07:22 PM
B&W and Vandersteen's were at one dealer. Used same Ayre gear for both
Paradigm - another dealer with Integra gear
Revel's - 3rd dealer - paired with all Marantz gear

Mr Peabody
12-23-2008, 07:40 PM
Ayre is a more capable set up than what Integra or Marantz can do. I wonder what was going on with that integra set up, them with Paradigm should have been tight, not like you described. The Integra certainly wouldn't have had the resolution the Ayre did though. Did you hear Marantz separates? If so, them and the Revels might make a nice package.

If Dynaudio is represented in your area I'd be interested to see what you think of them. The Focus series is probably closest to what you are looking for. Thiel is also worth a listen.

12-23-2008, 07:49 PM
It was an Integra all in one receiver I believe. The Marantz setup did use separates. Dynaudio's website does not allow you to look up all the distributors in the area and the Thiel site must be down. I will try to find a dealer to listen to these tomorrow.

Mr Peabody
12-23-2008, 07:59 PM
That explains a lot. You still may not be a fan of Paradigm in the end but realize an Integra receiver is out classed by Marantz separates. The Marantz AV8003/MM8003 are really good for the money so it's hard to say how that would fair with the Ayre. Different systems though is keeping you from hearing apples to apples.