• 03-14-2005, 07:36 AM
    Eric Z
    Speakers for music vs. speakers for HT
    Hello again, everyone--

    A quick story before my question...

    I decided to move all of my HT to my family room a few months ago- now this just leaves a TV in my living room (main living area). I like having the HT in the family room because it is a smaller room and is in the basement- darker, too- feels more like a theater (split level home, so about 6 steps down is the basement). Anyway, my wife and I were doing stuff around the house and she wanted to listen to music while she cleaned (mostly the main living area). Since the HT is downstairs now, she pulled out the boom box I got for Christmas 8 years ago and started to listen to some of her CDs. After listening for about an hour or so, I asked her if I should move the HT back upstairs so we can listen to music while in our main living area. I wasn't sure how she was going to respond, but this is what she said, "Why don't you go out and buy a new receiver and speakers for the living room!" We don't have a relationship where we have to get permission to buy things, however, it's nice to feel supported!!

    Now my question- I am looking to build a new HT from scratch in my living room and have a couple questions. The set-up in the living room will be used mostly for music- about 65% or so. I really like the Yamaha 5760 receiver (that's what I have downstairs) so I think I'll pick that up for the living room. When looking at speakers for mostly music, should I be looking for something different compared to speakers for mainly HT?

    My budget for the 2 front speakers will be about $600 total. I will then finish it out with a sub (thinking about parts express) and then the center and surrounds.

    Any input is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks.
    Eric
  • 03-14-2005, 08:09 AM
    markw
    Listen to any and everything within your budget, but...
    ..when listening, forget about HT. Use only music (your favorite) for evaluation purposes. Speakers that do music well will have no problem with HT. The converse is not always true.

    If possible, try to pick up at least the matching center speaker atthe same time as the mains. Once a line goes out of production, finding a match can be digfficult.

    If you're on a budget, Athena speakers have been dropping in price lately and put out some pretty good bang for the buck. They work for me and I'm a bit picky but, then again, it's all a matter pf personal taste.
  • 03-14-2005, 08:17 AM
    Mark111867
    Hi Eric- I'm more of a two channel guy, but I'll throw in my 2 cents. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably be a lot more concerned with how music sounded on the speakers than how home theater sounded. I have a pair of Cambridge Soundworks Newton M80's hooked up to a Yamaha two channel receiver for music/home theater and am happy with it. Keep in mind that my system is 95% music/5% movies. It sounds nice IMO. The Newton M80's run $499.99 (the price recently went up). They also have a high rating on the wife approval scale. There are a ton of other options out there that I'm sure would serve you just as well such as Energy ( the c-1 and c-3 are in your price range), or maybe something from Paradigm such as the Paradim Studio 20's (you might be able to get them used within your budget). I'm sure that some other folks who know a lot more about home theater than I do will chime in here, I just figured I'd get the ball rolling. Good luck!
  • 03-14-2005, 08:28 AM
    Eric Z
    Thanks a bunch, markw and Mark-

    I plan on heading to my local electronics store this evening and I''m bringing a couple CDs, too. I might just end up bring a couple pairs of speakers home to audition there- I always wonder why people listen to speakers in the store. I guess you can compare speaker to speaker, but you're using a receiver they have hooked up and a room that most likely won't be what you have at home.

    Does anyone have any experience on the Definitive Technology SM350s? They list for $498/pair, but I can get them for about $350 or so new. I know it comes down to me liking the sound, but I just want a place to start- also, my electronics store I frequent can get me a pretty good deal. They also carry, MK and Canton.

    Thanks again!!
    Eric
  • 03-14-2005, 10:30 AM
    paul_pci
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Z
    Thanks a bunch, markw and Mark-

    I plan on heading to my local electronics store this evening and I''m bringing a couple CDs, too. I might just end up bring a couple pairs of speakers home to audition there- I always wonder why people listen to speakers in the store. I guess you can compare speaker to speaker, but you're using a receiver they have hooked up and a room that most likely won't be what you have at home.

    Does anyone have any experience on the Definitive Technology SM350s? They list for $498/pair, but I can get them for about $350 or so new. I know it comes down to me liking the sound, but I just want a place to start- also, my electronics store I frequent can get me a pretty good deal. They also carry, MK and Canton.

    Thanks again!!
    Eric


    MK sucks, in my opinion and the lower end of the line Definitive Tech was not impressive either. But I'm somewhat curious as to why, if you have a dedicated HT room in the family room, you want to rebuild a surround system in the other room, as opposed to taking an HT budget and putting that into a 2-channel system. You could conceive of this project entirely differently. For instance, instead of a receiver you could get an integrated amplifier and throw most of the budget into musical speakers, as it were.
  • 03-14-2005, 12:03 PM
    Feanor
    If it were me ...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Z
    ...
    Now my question- I am looking to build a new HT from scratch in my living room and have a couple questions. The set-up in the living room will be used mostly for music- about 65% or so. I really like the Yamaha 5760 receiver (that's what I have downstairs) so I think I'll pick that up for the living room. When looking at speakers for mostly music, should I be looking for something different compared to speakers for mainly HT?
    ...

    I would emphasize the music. That is, I would build a good stereo system rather than a so-so multi-channel, given you'll be listening to mostly to music. Also, stereo works fine for TV watching and the occassional movie!!

    Personnally, with 600 bucks for speakers I'd go for Magneplanar MMGs in a second. But I would not get these for HT since they are more difficult to place. Instead, I'd be looking for wide dispersion units that can be put closer to the walls.
  • 03-14-2005, 07:12 PM
    Eric Z
    paul_pci-

    i guess i'm looking for the reason of why i would like to have another HT room, too- i guess so i can have some flexibility if i wanted to watch movies in my living room instead of just my family room. i know that isn't the best reason- i'm actually sorta talking myself out of it as i type.

    i'm going to give your recommendation of a straight 2 channel set-up serious thought. if i go that route, you recommend getting an integrated amp? i have no clue when it comes to these types of set-ups, so please bear with me- would i need some type of receiver, too? just wondering. also, am i correct in thinking that 2 channel systems only require a subwoofer if the extra lfe is needed?

    thanks a bunch!
    ez
  • 03-14-2005, 07:39 PM
    paul_pci
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Z
    paul_pci-

    i guess i'm looking for the reason of why i would like to have another HT room, too- i guess so i can have some flexibility if i wanted to watch movies in my living room instead of just my family room. i know that isn't the best reason- i'm actually sorta talking myself out of it as i type.

    i'm going to give your recommendation of a straight 2 channel set-up serious thought. if i go that route, you recommend getting an integrated amp? i have no clue when it comes to these types of set-ups, so please bear with me- would i need some type of receiver, too? just wondering. also, am i correct in thinking that 2 channel systems only require a subwoofer if the extra lfe is needed?

    thanks a bunch!
    ez


    Don't worry, it took me some time to figure out what the hell an integrated amp is myself. Just think of an integrated amp as a receiver minus the tuner, and of course, the video crap. Basically its a one box audio solution for those interested in two channel music, for instance. And yes, you could add a subwoofer for bass that the mains can't produce. You couild get a receiver instead of an integrated, but unless I'm mistaken there are some reasonably priced integrateds that would cost as much as a typical AV receiver and set you up for a righteous 2-channel system. Of course, if you're a radio listener, that would pose a limitation, expect others will remind you that you can pick up a cheap tuner on the used market.
  • 03-14-2005, 07:56 PM
    Mike That Likes Music
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Z
    paul_pci-

    i'm going to give your recommendation of a straight 2 channel set-up serious thought. if i go that route, you recommend getting an integrated amp? i have no clue when it comes to these types of set-ups, so please bear with me- would i need some type of receiver, too? just wondering. also, am i correct in thinking that 2 channel systems only require a subwoofer if the extra lfe is needed?

    ez

    Hope you don't mind my jumping in on someone else's question.
    First off, if you do consider the Magnepans make sure they have plenty of air space to work with. I had a pair of Maggies for about a year and they sound wonderful but require a different setup than "box" speakers. They have to be quite a bit further from the walls to sound their best. This is what Feanor was talking about with "difficult to place".
    I would also recommend the integrated amp. Better sound per dollar value than a reciever in general.
    For my two cents on cheap integrated amp preferences, I love Cambridge Audio. They get nothing but stellar reviews and I've been using one of their older models in my bedroom for several years now. Not the best amps around by a long shot, but for the amount of money you spend you'd have a hard time finding better sound. Look on AudioAdvisor.com to find out more about them.
    As for subwoofers... I used to think I needed one, but now I've gone 180 degrees on that subject. I use a pair of inexpensive (about $700) JMLabs speakers, a French manufacturer. French speakers are notorious for being much thinner on bass than American or British. At first I missed the sheer weight of the bass you get from more aggresive speakers, but over time I realized how much those big brutes were covering up. I still hear all the bass with my JMLabs, but because they don't turn the bass up to room-shaking levels I'm also hearing everything that used to be covered up. And man, talk about SMOOTH. On the other hand, if you're looking for something to crank up, I'd go more in the direction of the Athenas. They're loud as hell but still fairly revealing. My bass-freak best friend bought a pair and loves 'em. Hope this helps.

    Mike
  • 03-15-2005, 02:46 AM
    Eric Z
    defintitely help, guys! thanks!!

    any other integrated amp that i should consider? just looking for some options- i don't think i've ever ventured into the amp section of my electronics store.

    thanks again!
  • 03-15-2005, 09:48 AM
    Feanor
    Integrateds ...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Z
    defintitely help, guys! thanks!!

    any other integrated amp that i should consider? just looking for some options- i don't think i've ever ventured into the amp section of my electronics store.

    thanks again!

    Assuming you want to keep you cost under US$1000, your most practical integrated options are from NAD and Rotel. (I also assume you want to avoid tubes and other weird-**** stuff.)

    Then again, you might still want to consider a receiver, especially if you listen to FM radio. Two or three makers still sell stereo receivers, (Harmon Kardon, Marantz, I think); however they don't offer much or anything in the way of advantages over multi-channel receivers.