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  1. #1
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    Newbie here...need suggestions!

    Hello, I just started learning more about surround sound systems today so I am still very new to this! My house is in the process of being built and is getting pre-wired for my surround sound system.

    Before I began seriously researching, I was set on buying my system from Best Buy. I was going to opt for the Yamaha - 910W 7.1-Ch receiver, the Klipsch - Synergy III 6-1/2" 2 ways for the front floor speakers, Klipsch - Synergy III 6-1/2" 2-Way for the center speakers, Klipsch - Synergy III 4" 2-Way Dual-Tweeter Surround Speakers for the rears, and finally Klipsch - 12" 650W Powered Subwoofer. Buying these seperately at Best Buy would run me about $2,300.

    After doing some research on this message board I am under the impression that I can get a better system for aproximately the same amount of money.

    Here is what I have observed.... I am pretty sure that I want to get the Onkyo 705, but I am really confused about what speakers to get! I looked at the B&W and I really would like to get some floor speakers for the front and it seems as if the B&W 684's would run me about $1,000 a pair, which might be a bit much. Can you guys recommend me some floor speakers that would sound great... on par with the B&W 684's that would be a bit cheaper?

    Another issue I am having is the way the floor plan is, the speakers will have to be mounted up on the walls about 10 feet off of the floor. The speakers will be aproximately 4 feet behind the sofa, 10 feet up in the air. I do not think that mounting large rear speakers on the wall would be attractive. Which brings me to the "in-wall" alternative. Are there any in-wall speakers that I can use for the rears that would be comparable with the B&W 686? If I am going to have to compromise quality when going with a in wall speaker then I will just stick with the non in wall speakers since I really do want this system to sound great.

    I was looking at the MORDAUNT SHORT AW162 DUAL 6" Inwall Speakers, but I have not heard anything about them. My local stereo store has some in wall FOCAL speakers...they are a bit pricey though. Ah well, this is getting long so does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep my price around $2,500 with floor speakers? Any input would be GREATLY appreiacted!

  2. #2
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    A recommendation for a good sub woofer for my budget would also be greatly appreicatied!

  3. #3
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    Hi crash32. Welcome. For your first question about your front floor standers, Paradigm may be a cheaper route than B&W. I haven't priced Paradigms because I'm content with what I've got, but other people with similar questions have gotten a similar response. Others here will differ though, but the bottom line is... get what sounds good to your ears.

    Your surrounds should match your mains (manufacturer wise), and personnally I'd put shelves on the wall then buy bookshelf speakers. I like a lot of wood in my room (it's masculine ) and there are some beautiful wood finishes on B&W & Paradigm speakers. There's as much variety of subwoofers as there are musical tastes, so again, look & listen to what sounds good.

  4. #4
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    For my surrounds, is there a difference in sound in a good bookshelf speaker vs a good in-wall speaker? I am not opposed in putting bookshelf speakers in the rears, but it might look a bit awkard. It might even be difficult to mount since they will need to be angled down a 45 degree angle since it will be aproximately 10 ft off the ground and 4 or 5 feet behind the sofa.

    I just looked up some Paradigm floor speakers and found the Paradigm Monitor 7 v.5 floor speakers. I think that they say that a pair sells for $675. Should those be better than the Klipsch that I was looking at Best Buy? I am trying to find the apporiate surrounds, center, and woofer that I need, but since I am a newbie I really do not know that I need in order to get a quality powerful system.

  5. #5
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    I'm a Paradigm fan. I think they deliver a good sound for the price and I have bought them repeatedly.

    In my family room, I've got the Monitor 5's (very similar to the 7's except they are not floor speakers- they are designed as bookshelf (or, more appropriately, mounted on 20" stands a couple feed from the wall. I've also got the ADP 370s for surrounds, a PS1200 sub and CC300 for center channel. I spent some time with an SPL meter and got it balanced. I think it sounds pretty good without breaking the bank.

    Upstairs, in the living room, my wife didn't want speakers. We've got a nice antique armoire which houses the largest LCD screen we could fit in it (ToshibaHL37-[of course, soon after we purchased it, they introduced the 40" thin bezel which would have fit]). I tried a couple small sat packages (Bose AM-6, a Boston Avidea package from AudioAdvisor (and two controller boxes failed on), and something by Polk that quickly went on eBay). I wanted more and better sound.

    I brought out a pair of Paradigm MiniMons from my office and a CC300. I prefer the CC300 (audiogon.com) to the later versions. Although it has a TTD tweeter instead of the PTD, I like the little midrange tweak they gave its crossover. It is a little less neutral but I like it as a center. Anyway, the MiniMons are not large but were deemed too big sitting on top of the armoire. Stands were not allowed...

    Next step: I went inwall with Paradigm AMS-250s and in-ceiling surrounds with AMS-100Rs and a single AMS250 for a back surround. I put in a PS1200 sub and the CC300. I balanced it with an SPL meter and it sounds. It sounds infinitely better than any of the other things I tried but I really don't like how the inwalls fire straight out of the wall. There isn't the focused "sweet spot" like I'm used to. The sub may be a little large for the space but I'm just amazed that she allowed it in!

    If I could, I'd much rather have the MiniMons on stands than the AMS250s (even though they are essentially the same things in different formats). The Mon7s are a good speaker for the price- I think you'd be happier with them than with most inwalls. Especially if they are mounted very high on the wall. My inwalls are mounted about 40" off the floor as a compromise between seated and standing height. I guess you could try them and always patch the drywall...

    Also- the Onkyo 705 is what I'm looking at to replace the Denon 2102 that is currently up in the living room. Looks good to me!

  6. #6
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    Thanks notphilmitchell, I really appreicate the detailed post about your experience with the paradigm speakers. It is interesting to hear how many people think that they are too harsh on the ears..... guess it really is a personal taste although it seems as if A LOT of people do not like them.

  7. #7
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    I guess I'd just caution you on the use of inwalls if you are doing critical listening. My living room had some trade-offs and it sounds like a trade-off... However, it sounds quite a bit better than it did with satellites. Had I not gone inwall with the Paradigms, I think I would have ordered a set Nanosats to try.

    I think you'll find quite a bit of hyperbole and fierce brand loyalty applied to speakers. I think a lot of consumer reviews are useless- how many people are going to admit that they could have done better? The city I was living in when I put together my "theater" room had a Best Buy and an audio boutique where everything was four figures plus. Had I the money, I would have been loading some Martin Logan set into my car...

    I drove an hour to get more choices, listened to a few different speakers and ended up choosing Paradigm because of their reputation and magazine reviews, the fact that they sounded a little better to me, and their price. That's largely why I've stayed with them. I'm sure I'd be just as happy with another brand- I've been quite curious about B&W because they are popular on several forums. We don't have a dealer within an hour of us so they were ruled out.

    Give some of the different Paradigm Monitor series a listen. They have a lower series (Performance?) and higher series (Studio and Signature) but the Monitor series seemed to be a good balance of performance/price and have consistently been well reviewed. I don't find them harsh but I've only compared them with a couple speakers within their price points. However, when I really want to immerse myself in something, I tend to put on a pair of Grado SR80 headphones.

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