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  1. #1
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    Question HT Speakers about $1200-1400

    Just wondering what you folks recommend for HT speakers for around $1200-1400? About to upgrade my receiver (leaning towards Yamaha 1400) and I thought I might just go ahead and update my speakers as well. I am also considering just buying 2 higher quality floor standing speakers, but then would want to stay around $1000 for the pair. Interested to hear your thoughts...
    Last edited by rileychris; 03-18-2004 at 08:25 PM. Reason: more information

  2. #2
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    That price range is perfect for a full Orb Audio Mod2 system. It's got a real full sound and crisp, detailed imaging, so you won't miss the floorstanders. They have a home trial/MBG, too. Other recommendations...I hears a $1500 Axiom system recently that sounded really good, and people around here seem to like the Energy speakers. I think the Orbs give you more performance and style, for less money.

  3. #3
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    try B&W 300 series or 600 series.....pretty safe bet.

    manek.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular TinHere's Avatar
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    Check out the Rocket's by Onix at AV123.com. Excellent value and a great company to do business with.

    Happy hunting.
    TinHere

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  5. #5
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    The rockets look nice. Is that website the only place that sells them? I was also wondering why they aren't listed on thsi site anywhere? Is Onix teh brand and Rocket the model? Anyone got experience with these?

  6. #6
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    If you add the price of stands to your HT, you probably wont be able to get any B&W stuff. Maybe give Energy stuff a try. The Take 5+1 is pretty good for the money I hear.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    If you add the price of stands to your HT, you probably wont be able to get any B&W stuff. Maybe give Energy stuff a try. The Take 5+1 is pretty good for the money I hear.
    I need to buy extra stands for B&W floorstanding speakers?

  8. #8
    Forum Regular TinHere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rileychris
    The rockets look nice. Is that website the only place that sells them? I was also wondering why they aren't listed on thsi site anywhere? Is Onix teh brand and Rocket the model? Anyone got experience with these?
    The Rocket brand is sold internet direct only, as is the Reference line also by Onix. They also have ELT's [Extremely Luscious Home Theater] and the Tykes. People have been requesting that they be listed in the review section for quite awhile, but so far it hasn't happened. They have a lush midrange, tight bass, and detailed non-fatiguing highs. The build quality is exceptional. Mark Schifter, the owner, is now making cabinets for other companies in his new factory. He is an extraordinary individual born into the business [related to Marantz] who was one of the developers of Audio Alchemy and Genesis speakers. He also has developed the Perpetual Technologies gear that is also sold on the AV123.com web site. He now offers SOCS [Speaker Only Correction Software] for the PT gear, and is almost ready to release RCS [Room Correction Software]. When I first found AV123 I knew here was a man that cared about audio reproduction more than I ever would, and his technical advances have borne that out. He is special and so are his products and his company. If you have questions they are very responsive via phone, e-mail, or their forum.

    Some owners open their homes for auditions. Try http://www.audioenvy.com/ If nobody near you is listed you can post at the AV123.com forum and maybe find someone to accomodate you. There are plenty of comparison threads there you can find with a search. These are the real deal, and the direct only business model allows for price/performance that b&m shops can't really compete with. They offer a 30 day no questions asked return policy, but the buyer does pay shipping costs. The good news is they are seldom returned, and allow in home auditions with your gear so what you hear is what you get.

    Here's a review of the Rocket's:
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...rs-8-2003.html

    I have a Rocket #2 package [750/200/300] and have been delighted with the products and the company.

    Edit: Here's a review of the ELT's if you want 5.1 for your budget.

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...rs-3-2004.html
    Last edited by TinHere; 03-19-2004 at 02:26 PM.
    TinHere

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  9. #9
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    1200 bux probably wont get you 5 channel HT if you looking at BW floorstanders. The cheapest one is 602.5, which I IMO isnt even as good as 601 in terms of sound.

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    I think I am going to keep using my current surrounds and just get two nice floorstanding speakers. So I am basically looking at a pair of Axiom M80's, B7W 604 S3's, Av123's Rockets, Polk RTi and LSi Towers, and any others I hear good things about in the $800 - $1400 price range. Thansk for all your help. Keep it coming guys.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    I would expand the list to include standmounts because most of the floorstanding models I've heard in this price range have issues with cabinet resonance and less effective imaging compared to the equivalent standmounted models. The one big advantage that floorstanders have is their bass extension. Most other advantages go to the standmounts. Personally, I would go with floorstanders only if you know that you won't eventually add a subwoofer.

    As for suggestions, it would depend on the type of sound you're looking for. The mail order speakers get a lot of hype on this board, and from having bought a mail order subwoofer, I know first hand about how good a value they can be. But, understand that it is a risk because you're basically paying for the speakers up front in order to listen to them. The shipping charges are on your dime both ways, so it can be a lot more of an expensive audition than going through a retail store. Your main speakers are about as subjective a decision as you can make in audio, and the best thing to do is a lot of listening to figure out what's out there.

    As for retail brands, B&W's a very good option. Others include Paradigm's Studio series, Energy's C-series, Klipsch's RF series, Vandersteen, PSB, Boston Acoustics, JBL, Infinity, KEF, Dynaudio, Magnepan, and Monitor Audio, among others. I don't necessarily like all of these companies' products, but at least they all produce a full lineup of home theater speakers (i.e. different center and surround speaker options), and you'll get a good range of different sound characteristics. Take your time in picking out the best options for you. And when you got the best options tabbed, arrange to borrow them and try them out at home. Some speakers like the Dynaudios and Magneplanars are more difficult to drive, and could give a HT receiver trouble, and your room acoustics could be very different from the dealer's demo room, so it's important that you try the whole thing at home first before committing the big bucks.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular TinHere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rileychris
    I think I am going to keep using my current surrounds and just get two nice floorstanding speakers. So I am basically looking at a pair of Axiom M80's, B7W 604 S3's, Av123's Rockets, Polk RTi and LSi Towers, and any others I hear good things about in the $800 - $1400 price range. Thansk for all your help. Keep it coming guys.
    If you are big into music over HT then get towers and don't look back. Do you have a subwoofer and a good center channel? If you do I like the idea of building a better system as you can afford it. If not the ELT's or other system with a sub will get you in the game and still be within your budget. Remember that the center channel is very important in multi-channel formats, and a sub adds another dimension. The ELT's have a center that is reported to be very good, and a subwoofer for the low end. You can of course get towers and use a phantom center which will probably be better than using a center not up to the task, but if you don't have a subwoofer you don't know what your missing for HT until you get one.

    Info about room size/layout and % of HT vs music would also be determining factors in a meaningful recommendation to assure your satisfaction. I know it is often reported that with the Rocket's music listening % usually goes up as old favorites are rediscovered anew.

    Enjoy the hunt.
    TinHere

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  13. #13
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    Tin,

    Thanks for the advice.

    Here are some more details. I live in a 4th floor apartment that has very high ceilings and a preety open floor plan. Not really great for home theatre. Here is a link to the floorplan: http://www.thejacksonhill.com/# It is the 2/2 1400 sq ft one. I am definitely going to buy 2 floorstanding speakers for now and add to it over time. I think a smaller system might not fill this room the way I want it to. As far as listening goes, I would say I am proabably 60% HT and 40% music. I am continuing to add to my list of speakers to try/research. I currently have the following list:

    Rocket by Onix RS750 (little expensive but look very nice)
    PhaseTech Velocity-12's (found some good reviews)
    Axiom M80's (lots of great reviews and good price)
    B&W DM 604 S3 (lots of really good reviews and quality reputation)

    I am trying to find places to listen to all of these. Probably won't be able to for another week, but will do more research until then.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rileychris
    As far as listening goes, I would say I am proabably 60% HT and 40% music. I am continuing to add to my list of speakers to try/research. I currently have the following list:

    Rocket by Onix RS750 (little expensive but look very nice)
    PhaseTech Velocity-12's (found some good reviews)
    Axiom M80's (lots of great reviews and good price)
    B&W DM 604 S3 (lots of really good reviews and quality reputation)

    I am trying to find places to listen to all of these. Probably won't be able to for another week, but will do more research until then.
    Well, unless you know someone who owns them, the only way to audition the Rockets and the Axioms is to pluck down your credit card and buy them first. Seems to me like you're relying a lot on reviews, which is not always the best thing especially with speakers. Also, keep in mind that with internet-direct brands like Rocket and Axiom, the reviews are almost all done by their owners, who are not always the picture of objectivity. With other speakers, a lot of the reviews are written by people who heard them in a store, some of whom may not have liked them. Hard to do that with the Rockets or Axioms, because almost everybody who's reviewing those speakers spent money on them first before hearing them.

    I would suggest that you go visit a local audio dealer and do some listenings. That's really the only way to start hearing the differences for yourself and start prioritizing what you're really looking for. As I said before, speakers are very subjective. What someone else thinks is the greatest speaker on the planet might not sit well at all with me, and that's why there are so many different speaker brands out there.

  15. #15
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    I agree! I will never solely buy based on these or any other forums. The forums are a good place to get information though. I have also read lots of 3rd party (mostly magazine) reviews. You gotta start somewhere. At least this way I will have an idea and some competitor knowledge before I hit any store. I have already casually listened to a handful of speakers, but not with the intent to buy. Time to pull out my favorite CD/DVDs and go shopping. It is a shame that each store only has a couple of brands. It would be nice to be able compare side by side in the same room. I don't mind doing a home trial as long as it doesn't cost me a fortune. Maybe that is what I will end up needing to do. Thanks for the reminder about not getting forum tunnel-vision though.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular TinHere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Well, unless you know someone who owns them, the only way to audition the Rockets and the Axioms is to pluck down your credit card and buy them first. Seems to me like you're relying a lot on reviews, which is not always the best thing especially with speakers. Also, keep in mind that with internet-direct brands like Rocket and Axiom, the reviews are almost all done by their owners, who are not always the picture of objectivity. With other speakers, a lot of the reviews are written by people who heard them in a store, some of whom may not have liked them. Hard to do that with the Rockets or Axioms, because almost everybody who's reviewing those speakers spent money on them first before hearing them.

    I would suggest that you go visit a local audio dealer and do some listenings. That's really the only way to start hearing the differences for yourself and start prioritizing what you're really looking for. As I said before, speakers are very subjective. What someone else thinks is the greatest speaker on the planet might not sit well at all with me, and that's why there are so many different speaker brands out there.
    Woochifer,

    I agree with most of your points and you give sound advice as to defining his preferences. I did mention that he can go to AudioEnvy.com or post at AV123 and see if someone in his area gives auditions. I also posted independent reviews. I think the fact that most of the reports are from happy owners speaks more to the price/performance of the direct only companies than the cost of shipping them back. More often than not expectations are exceeded on many levels. If these companies weren't delivering on their promises they would be out of business as quick as word travels on the internet. Your own experience with a subwoofer you purchased and lauded as good value is very reflective of several online direct companies. There are numerous posts on a number of different forums by people with lots of listening experience that compare these online direct speakers to speakers available in b&m stores. Speakers ARE subjective, but you can count the dollars you save if you can match your preferences to one of these companies offerings. I have seen these kinds of purchases more than satisify discriminating buyers time and again. To reiterate, your experience is just one example of many, and not just because a subwoofer just has to be good to do it's job, but because the same quality will cost more in a b&m store. Eliminating the middleman profit is a good thing for the consumer that does some research and has an idea what he is looking for. That is why these compainies are gaining market share among online consumers who have trusted what others have reported. The legions are growing for many good reasons.

    rileychris,

    The space you have shouldn't be a problem filling with sound even with the ELT's. That said, if you want to go over budget the 750's a great speakers and have been compared favorably with speakers costing much more. If you want to stay within your posted budget, the 550's have put many smiles on many faces and like the 750's share the Vifa ring radiator tweeter that is very revealing without being fatiguing. The 750's feature a cascading crossover designed by Dick Pierce that offers a superb midrange, and more bass than would expected based on driver and enclosure sizes. If you find your taste favors a tipped up high end the Axiom's should satisfy that need.

    When demoing in stores spend time with speakers you listen to and make sure they satisfy you beyond the initial "sizzle" you might hear and like for short time. You really can't beat an in home audition with your own gear to really make an informed decision.

    Here's a blurb from 6moons.com found about midway in the article. There are also pictures of other products offered or upcoming by Mark & co.
    http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatur...4/ces04_4.html

    "Meanwhile, the tireless crew around Mark Schifter and Walter Liederman of AV123.com seemed hellbent on rewriting the rules of conduct unbecoming, that is to say, aim a few loaded Howitzers at the overpriced market. In case you weren't aware, these gents now operate their own factory in Mainland China to guarantee aggressive value pricing, with Mark Schifter spending 6 months out of the year in China to personally oversee operations and insure Western-style QC and fit'n'finish. After what I saw in their room, I propose one of those movie poster slogans to greet the competition: "Be afraid. Be very much afraid!'' "
    TinHere

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