• 10-01-2004, 08:18 AM
    sirkaien
    Best main and center speakers under $1400
    Looking for starting point for main and center speakers under $1400.

    I am thinking I will have Marantz 7400 or 8400.
    Need help from experienced guys.

    Thanks.
  • 10-01-2004, 08:37 AM
    Wireworm5
    Paradigm Monitor 9s and Paradigm 370 for the center. Estimated cost $1300 cdn.. You won't find better at this price.
  • 10-01-2004, 08:50 AM
    JSE
    Well, it's not as easy as Wireworn suggested. Everyone likes different speakers for different reasons. No one is really right or worng. It's all preference.

    For starters, I would start visiting audio stores and listening to various speakers in your price range and go with the ones you like best.

    A short list to start with in no particular order,

    Energy
    Paradigm
    B&W
    Boston Acoutics
    Polk
    Klipsch
    Athena
    Mission
    KEF
    Defintive Technology
    Infinity

    and Internet brands like,

    Axiom
    Rocket
    Swan
    Cambridge Sound Works


    These are some of the main players and all make "good" speakers. I've probably left some out and other's can add to that list. But, go out and listen and see what you think.

    Remember, if you go with standmount mains you will probably need a sub to make up for the lack of bass. Most of the companies listed above also make subs but there are also companies like SVS, HSU, Adire an a couple of others that make grear subs.

    JSE
  • 10-01-2004, 10:58 AM
    topspeed
    In addition to Cartman's knowledgeable advice, I'd add Von Schweikert's LCR15's to your list. The reason I think these standmounts would make a great front stage, outside of sound quality of course, is that you have the added benefit of having the same speaker at all three position. Say what you will about center channels, but if you truly want a seemless front stage, ideally you should have the same speaker all the way across.

    Food for thought.
  • 10-01-2004, 01:05 PM
    Lensman
    Along with the one's JSE and Topspeed mentioned, PSB's Image line, Monitor Audio's Silver series, and JMLabs Chorus line are also within your price range.

    Almost every speaker made is a collection of compromises made by the manufacturer juggling size, appearance, quality of materials, power handling, and price with specifc sonic goals that are the preference of the specific manufacturer. And believe me, these vary a lot.

    As a result, every speaker sounds different. For example, JMLabs is often noted for their laid-back high end and comfortable, unintrusive sound. JBL on the other hand has a tradition for rocking the house with sound pressure levels that can knock walls down. So, there's no real "best". But there's definitely something that sounds best to you.

    If you give us a few more details, we may be able to weed this long list of manufacturers down to a few that are more in line with your tastes.

    Is your system purely for watching movies, or do you listen to music with it as well?
    If you listen to music, how critically do you do so?
    What kind of movies/music do you like?
    Do you have a subwoofer (and what kind), plan to get one, or want your mains to provide as much bass as possible?
    How large is your listenig area?

    Once you have a list of speakers to consider, and if sound is more important than money, you'll do yourself a great favor to take some material you know around to your local audio dealers and give your choices a listen. I did this myself just a couple of weeks ago on a budget similar to yours. I wanted to spend $1,000 for a pair of bookshelves. It's been a while since I bought speakers, so I took three days of vacation from work to go around and listen to everything I could.

    This was both ear-opening and a lot of fun. In fact, it turned out to be more like a vacation than I'd thought it'd be. I was extremely pleased and impressed with how nice and accomodating everyone was when they saw I was serious about *listening*. So much so, I was sorry I couldn't buy something from them all. Almost everyone took pains to move the specific speakers I was interested in to their optimum listening areas and set them up. I was interested in Several even invited me to spend some time listening to their $100K+ systems despite knowing the meager amount I could afford to spend. This was a true pleasure and really helped by setting a bar against which I could compare the speaker choices in my price range.

    I read lots of posts on audio forums and newsgroups and tons of reviews before I began. So I thought I KNEW what I wanted. But in the end, I was surprised with what I ended up buying - after actually listening to them.
  • 10-02-2004, 12:09 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Dynaudio offers the best performance per dollar ratio I've ever heard. You could get a pair of Audience 52's and center for slightly over $1,400. The 52's are bookshelf speakers but will give you better bass than towers in this price range. You will find they have a wide frequency response and are very revealing. I have the 52's for rear surround and used the Audience center for a long time before upgrading to a Contour 2.1. I drove them with an Arcam FMJ 100 wpc. I broke the 52's in on my Adcom system 125wpc and they rocked. You will find the center very satisfying, it is every bit as equal in quality and performance as the rest of the Audience series using the same drivers.
  • 10-02-2004, 12:35 PM
    ROJ
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Dynaudio offers the best performance per dollar ratio I've ever heard. You could get a pair of Audience 52's and center for slightly over $1,400. The 52's are bookshelf speakers but will give you better bass than towers in this price range. You will find they have a wide frequency response and are very revealing. I have the 52's for rear surround and used the Audience center for a long time before upgrading to a Contour 2.1. I drove them with an Arcam FMJ 100 wpc. I broke the 52's in on my Adcom system 125wpc and they rocked. You will find the center very satisfying, it is every bit as equal in quality and performance as the rest of the Audience series using the same drivers.

    I second Mr. Peabody's recommendation. I have Dynaudio Audience 52s, 42C center channel, and 42Ws for surround speakers. They are fantastic speakers. It is important to note, however, that the speakers are 4 ohm speakers and inefficient. If you buy a Marantz receiver, it may have problems with the speakers. I have a Marantz 4300 receiver and I was told by Marantz that the receiver should not be used to power 4 ohm speakers. I ended up getting a Rotel power amp to power the speakers. The models you are considering may be able to handle the power, but it is worth checking out. If the receiver has enough power, the speakers are excellent.
  • 10-02-2004, 05:14 PM
    S. Jensen
    I can only recommend the Dynaudio Audience line. The Audience 42 and 52 are good. But if you can get a good deal on the Audience 72 you will very likely become even more happy. I have auditioned them up against the even bigger Audience 82 and they performed VERY well. A VERY good set of speakers...

    ROJ: Which Rotel amp did you get for your Dynaudios?

    Best regards

    S. Jensen
  • 10-02-2004, 07:42 PM
    sirkaien
    I've started to listen to various speakers now.
    Just checked Paradigm Monitor 1 1with 370 and impressed very much with its clear sound.
    One of online store offered me Infinity Kappa 600 with Kappa center under $1400.
    How do you guys think about these speakers?

    oh...by the way, I will put HT in great room (family room + dining room) which is about 26 X 19 ft.
  • 10-02-2004, 09:11 PM
    ROJ
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by S. Jensen
    I can only recommend the Dynaudio Audience line. The Audience 42 and 52 are good. But if you can get a good deal on the Audience 72 you will very likely become even more happy. I have auditioned them up against the even bigger Audience 82 and they performed VERY well. A VERY good set of speakers...

    ROJ: Which Rotel amp did you get for your Dynaudios?

    Best regards

    S. Jensen

    Hi S. Jensen,

    I am using the Rotel RMB-1075 amp (five channels of 200 watts into 4 ohms). I am very happy with the amp.

    -ROJ
  • 10-02-2004, 09:22 PM
    ROJ
    Sirkaien,

    A couple of other speakers to consider are the previously mentioned JM Lab chorus speakers, Monitor Audio Bronze or Silver series, and the Ascend Acoustics (online). I had recently narrowed my search to these speakers when I was looking for surround speakers before my dealer gave me a great deal on the Dynaudio Audience 42W speakers. Since Ascend Acoustics is an online company, several Ascend owners have offered to let people demo their speakers (www.ascendforum.com). I found a local owner that graciously let me listen to his speakers for a couple of hours.

    -ROJ
  • 10-02-2004, 11:35 PM
    Lensman
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sirkaien
    I've started to listen to various speakers now.
    Just checked Paradigm Monitor 1 1with 370 and impressed very much with its clear sound.
    One of online store offered me Infinity Kappa 600 with Kappa center under $1400.
    How do you guys think about these speakers?

    oh...by the way, I will put HT in great room (family room + dining room) which is about 26 X 19 ft.

    Glad to find you're out there listening! Your room size sounds fine for the choices you're considering, though I must ask if it has a vaulted ceiling.

    When I was out auditioning speakers recently, I too was impressed with the Paradigm Monitor line. So much so, I bought a pair of their Mini Monitors. This is why I mentioned being surprised in my previous post. As I said, I fully intended to spend $1,000 on a pair of bookshelves. After hearing everything available at dealers in my area, I ended up spending a mere $400 for the cheapest things I heard.

    But I feel I got the best sounding speakers in my price range. Though I it was a very tough decision between the Mini Monitors and Monitor Audio's Silver S1s. Upgrading from old speakers with ribbon tweeters, I tend to have a bias for a high end that's somewhat forward and very articulate. The S1s seemed better at this than the Paradigms. However, of all the speakers I heard, I felt Paradigm's Monitor line were the most balanced, neutral, and accurate speakers across their full range.

    Be aware Paradigm has just come out with version 4 of the series, though it'll be another 2-3 weeks before they begin shipping them. The only change is an improvement to the crossover. If you're interested in the Monitors, you may be able to get a deal on the version 3 speakers your dealer has in stock. If you want an absolute match with future rear surrounds, you might want to wait on the 4s or ask your dealer to order them.

    A lot has been said for the Dynaudio's line. I can't say these were among the selections I heard recently. However, I did listen to JMLab's Chorus and Cobalt lines. These are excellent speakers. The Chorus speakers were also the most beautiful looking. If I had to use one word to describe these lines, it'd have to be "comfortable." Listening to them is pleasurable and relaxing. However, I found them to be a little too laid back for my tastes, especially on the high end. That said, I've also listened to a pair of their $40,000 Utopia Nova Be speakers and found them to be the best speakers I've ever heard. JMLabs has a different philosophy to speaker design and the resulting sound is absolutely worth auditioning.

    To my knowledge, Infinity has discontinued their Kappa line. Hence the big discount you've been offered. They're fine speakers, but ones many people are quite polarized about, either totally loving or totally hating their sound. Have your heard a pair? It sounds as if you're your HT system is a work in progress. If so, you should consider that when you're ready to add surrounds and a sub, you may have difficulty finding the speakers to match. Especially if you want to buy them new.
  • 10-04-2004, 06:11 AM
    Mr Peabody
    Our local Dynaudio dealer carries Marantz as their entry level line and they don't seem to have any problems driving the Dyn's.

    I listened to Paradigm before and thought they sounded good, of course, I prefer Dynaudio, but the Paradigm clearly sounded better than the Boston Acoustics which we A/B'd. This same store also carried Snell which to me clearly sounded better than the Paradigm. I can't remember the price of the Paradigm but they were cheaper than the Snell. I also had another chance to hear Paradigm in an Anthem HT setup and that sounded great. I remember the mids and highs being somewhat pronounced, that may not be necessarily bad in a HT setup and who knows how they had the system settings.
  • 10-04-2004, 06:44 AM
    Bryan
    Have you considered going used? Or, perhaps this will work for you:

    Onix Rocket RS750 - $850 plus shipping but includes risers

    Add to that a new, B-stock, or used RSC200 center. Fantastic combination, from what I understand. I have the RS550/RSC200/RS150 combination coupled with a UFW-10 and it is wonderful!

    Take a look around for you may find something too good to pass up.