• 12-20-2004, 07:15 PM
    ChrisR
    What to buy for $5000 or so
    My wife has givin me the ok to spend some money on a system. I have a room about 20x20 with 18 foot celling, Tile floors and concrete walls. I do not have the ability to run cables to a back wall for 5.1 or 7.1, so I need a superb system with only left right center and sub. What are the best options in the 5k neighborhood?
  • 12-20-2004, 08:08 PM
    Woochifer
    Yeek! First thing to do would be to pick out a rug with your wife. That will allow you to run surround speaker cables underneath the rug, AND it will help deaden the room reverberation. Tile floor and concrete walls are an acoustical nightmare, so you should probably start by going to Cost Plus or IKEA and grab as many soft wall coverings, rugs, pillows, and other absorptive decorations as you can. To get an idea of how much of a problem you have, go down to the room and clap your hands. If you hear that "slap echo" then you got some room related issues to correct before you start worrying about the equipment that you will stuff into the room.

    As far as the system goes, it's okay to start with the L/C/R speakers up front plus the sub, but at some point you really should plan to upgrade to at least include the L/R surround speakers as well. IMO, it's the directional cues in multichannel soundtracks that give them that extra immersive experience. The type of imaging and sense of envelopment in a well placed surround system is far more involving than anything I've heard from even the best two-channel systems. You can accommodate surround speakers by using tall stands or wall mounting them on brackets. A heavy rug will conceal the wiring and improve the sound of your system.

    For your budget, you should start with a decent midlevel receiver in the $1,000 to $2,000 range, and start auditioning speakers. With a $3,000 to $4,000 budget for the front three speakers, you have a lot of options and should consider the full range of sizes and design types. Since you plan to get a sub, you should stick with bookshelf speakers and listen to a few panel speakers for comparison. If you go with a panel speaker or a low impedance box speaker (typically 4 ohms impedance), then you should also consider adding an outboard two-channel amp since most receivers are not well equipped to handle more than a pair of low impedance or otherwise difficult speakers at a time.

    You don't have to buy the surround speakers now, but you should plan on adding them at some point. IMO, the surrounds are more important than the center speaker and the subwoofer because of the extra dimensional effect that they convey. You don't lose out on nearly as much without the sub and without the center speaker, because a good set of mains can compensate for the absence of a sub and a center speaker. But, they cannot create the directional cues that go into the surround channels. It's ideal to have a full 5.1 setup, if you have to go without something, the surrounds IMO should be higher on the priority list than the center and sub.
  • 12-20-2004, 08:09 PM
    Easy E
    Could always go adire audio they make a center channel and some really nice left and right speakers. Also they sell some pretty cool subwoofers. They also have a bunch of stuff on sale too right now like the Sadhara subwoofer.
  • 12-20-2004, 08:40 PM
    meephis
    Hmmm.......
    For the receiver check out Yamaha's RX-V2500, it's clean and has enough power to push a fairly "thirsty" pair of speakers, all for a grand or just a tad under. They are very solid and in your case the YPAO feature (Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer) may come in handy.
  • 12-20-2004, 10:29 PM
    topspeed
    Geez, if you had a glass ceiling, you could go for the trifecta! Like Wooch said, you've got all the ingredients for some seriously screwed up room acoustics. Even the very best speakers are going to sound horrible in there until you dampen up that room quite a bit.

    That said, you've got an enormous amount of choices at your disposal. Here comes the fun part: Now you've got to go listen to everything and see what you like. At your price point, I'd avoid the BestBuy's and CC's of the world and go find an actual audio dealer. Try to audition speakers in your own home as much as possible as this will allow you to see which ones interact with your (now dampened) room the most favorably.

    Once you find some speakers that best suit your tastes, find a front end that compliments them. Two things to consider when looking for a front end:
    1) Will it properly drive the speakers
    2) Does it compliment the sound of the speakers
    System synergy is paramount and just because something looks good on paper in no way implies that it will meld well with your speakers. As with the speakers, you'll need to demo as much as possible with your speaker choice in your home.

    Are you getting an idea that this is going to take a while? You're right, it is. This is an investment in personal wellbeing so take your time and enjoy the journey. When a good system comes together, it's well worth it.

    Hope this helps.
  • 12-21-2004, 06:57 AM
    Feanor
    Great advice from others, plus GASP!! ...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ChrisR
    My wife has givin me the ok to spend some money on a system. I have a room about 20x20 with 18 foot celling, Tile floors and concrete walls. I do not have the ability to run cables to a back wall for 5.1 or 7.1, so I need a superb system with only left right center and sub. What are the best options in the 5k neighborhood?

    Your room at 20' x 20' would be considered a "bad" shape for bass resonances. Heavy drapes or some sound absorbing treatment on at least one (back) and preferably two walls (front & back) would be a good thing.

    The high ceiling would be a good thing except that at 18' it's almost equal to the other dimensions: GASP!! an almost a perfect cube -- really bad! in principle. This makes it imperative to have heavy carpeting on the floor, as others have suggested.
  • 12-21-2004, 07:19 PM
    ChrisR
    Ok, It's not as bad as it sounds. I actually have drapes on the window, a rug on the floor, very plush furniture, lots of art on the walls. Not a perfect scenario, but not bad. However, I know that different equipment is suited better for this environment. For instance, I understand that a forward firing sub is probably a better fit.

    I know that I should go to the stores, listen to the diferent equipment and see what sounds right to my ears. Unfortunately I can't do this. I live in Cabo San Lucas, MX and there are no stores to be found. I went to Phoenix, AZ a couple of weeks ago, and had the opp to listen to a few diferent setups. KEF, Martin Logans, Phase something. All of them sounded good, but nothing jumped out as superb. I listened to them powered by Denon and by Integra recievers.

    HELP
  • 12-21-2004, 07:26 PM
    ChrisR
    I wanted to add that if necessary, I can run rear speakers. It would just be difficult.
    Thanks.
  • 12-22-2004, 12:04 PM
    topspeed
    Part of the reason those speakers didn't grab you was probably related to the receivers being used. Nothing against Denon or Integra, it's just that receivers generally can't come close to driving a speaker as well as a good integrated or separate amp. You probably weren't hearing all that the speakers had to give.

    Specific recommendations are going to be difficult because all you're going to get are personal opinions, which of course have nothing to do with your own opinion. For example, Wooch runs Paradigm Studios w/ a Yammie front end, Feanor runs Maggies (I think) w/ a Bell Canto eVo, and I use either a B&W w/ PS Audio or Von Schweikert w/ vintage Marantz rig. All of this stuff is good...for each individual (although I'd happily take either Wooch's or Feanor's off their hands if they twisted my arm ;)).

    Do a quick search of recommend speaker and you'll have a nice starting point. Trust me, the "which speaker" question is asked about once a day here so you'll have plenty to help you form an opinion.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride.
  • 12-22-2004, 02:57 PM
    ChrisR
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    Part of the reason those speakers didn't grab you was probably related to the receivers being used. Nothing against Denon or Integra, it's just that receivers generally can't come close to driving a speaker as well as a good integrated or separate amp. You probably weren't hearing all that the speakers had to give.

    Specific recommendations are going to be difficult because all you're going to get are personal opinions, which of course have nothing to do with your own opinion. For example, Wooch runs Paradigm Studios w/ a Yammie front end, Feanor runs Maggies (I think) w/ a Bell Canto eVo, and I use either a B&W w/ PS Audio or Von Schweikert w/ vintage Marantz rig. All of this stuff is good...for each individual (although I'd happily take either Wooch's or Feanor's off their hands if they twisted my arm ;)).

    Do a quick search of recommend speaker and you'll have a nice starting point. Trust me, the "which speaker" question is asked about once a day here so you'll have plenty to help you form an opinion.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride.

    Thanks for the help, it is difficult. I will research opions on speakers first, then maybe you can help me match the front end to the speakers.
  • 12-22-2004, 05:20 PM
    Mash
    ChrisR
    I have been there and done that- I had a 20' x 20' room c 1977 - 1990. It had carpets and all that other good stuff. The 56 Hz peak was really noxious. And I was using Magneplanar Tympani, which do not over-excite room dimensions the way those cones-in-a-box speakers will.

    A 20' x 20' room will also be bad for you, and the carpet, blah, blah, blah, will not fix it for you.

    So you have an 18' ceiling? More bad...... I had about an 8' ceiling. You can calc your primary and diagonal modes, you know..... And YOU will have several near 56 Hz.

    You had better deal with the acoustics before you spend any money on audio gear. The 56 Hz peaks will get tiresome rather quickly, and you may be forced to select speakers that will fit around your acoustic solutions rather than the other way around.

    I built a slanted wall behind my speakers- the bottom was almost 4 feet from the rear wall, the top mated with the corner between the original wall and the ceiling. Of course your 18' ceiling would make this solution more interesting.....

    My next house was built to my specs and the acoustics were quite good. Then the house after that had a room 32 x 26 x 20h max/8'h min symmetric, i.e. a Cathedral, and it was perfect....
  • 12-22-2004, 08:19 PM
    Geoffcin
    Planar is what I would do.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ChrisR
    My wife has givin me the ok to spend some money on a system. I have a room about 20x20 with 18 foot celling, Tile floors and concrete walls. I do not have the ability to run cables to a back wall for 5.1 or 7.1, so I need a superb system with only left right center and sub. What are the best options in the 5k neighborhood?

    A set of Magnepan 1.6qr mains, and the CC3 center. Also a good 3 channel amp like the B&K Reference 200.3 3-Channel Amplifier. Add a powered sub like the 12" Velodyne HGS, and your set.
  • 12-22-2004, 09:00 PM
    ChrisR
    OK, Let's see if this sounds like a decent setup:
    B&K Reference 125.5 amp
    B&K Reference 50 pre-amp
    Paradigm Studio 60's mains
    Paradigm Studio cc-470 center
    Paradigm Studio ADP 470 rears

    Do I need a Sub? Which one?

    What cables would you suggest I use?
  • 12-23-2004, 12:24 AM
    zonik
    You need a pair of Klipschorns to go in your high ceiling box. An RC-7 Center and maybe some RB-75 rears. You won't need or want a sub. The B&Ks are perfect.
  • 12-23-2004, 06:04 AM
    ChrisR
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zonik
    You need a pair of Klipschorns to go in your high ceiling box. An RC-7 Center and maybe some RB-75 rears. You won't need or want a sub. The B&Ks are perfect.

    The Room is actually much larger than 20 x20, it opens up on one side to my dinning room and kitchen, has an open stairway that comes down from the main entry, and a large hallway on the other side that come to my office and quest bedrooms. Additionally, one wall completely opens to the outside patio and pool area. In other words it is not a box, so to speak, lots of angles breaking up the acoustics. There is only one wall that is a solid 20 feet across by 18 feet high.
  • 12-23-2004, 07:40 AM
    Buzz Roll
    The B&K/Magnepan set up will sound AMAZING. Maggies are in another league than the mass market stuff like Paradigm. From the description of your home, the Magnepans will look really nice too.


    Stay away from receivers.
  • 12-23-2004, 08:18 AM
    Mash
    Mr ChrisR
    It is a bit unfortunate that your original request for input did not reflect the actual nature of your intended "room'. That has rendered most of the initial responses moot.

    Given the size of the area I now understand you to have (esentially communicating to the outdoors ?) there would seem to be only two viable choices simply because a cones-in-a-box direct radiator will be a point source (SPL drops with distance SQUARED for a point source) and they will lack sufficient compensating efficiency (typically 90 to 95 dB at 10W at one metre). Pushing such a speaker as the Paradigm Studio 60's in your location to satisfying levels of sound will require a large amp and the speaker will run at higher distortion levels.

    So I see two choices for you:

    1. Klispch-horns (K-horns), IF you also have two full-wall corners to place them into. K-horns are not my cup of tea, but they have the very high efficiency required to easily handle a space as large and open as you now describe.

    2. Large Magnepans / Magneplanars. The Maggies will measure 84 dB at 10 watts at one metre but they also operate as planar sources (SPL is constant with distance for a planar source) that, at a sufficient distance, will then transition into line sources ( SPL drops with distance LINEARLY for a line source) and consequently Maggies will handle a large open area such as you describe very, very well. Andre Segovia once said "The guitar plays not loud, but far". The large Maggies will play BOTH loud AND far. Note that the MMG at $550 a pair would make fantastic rear speakers with Large Magnepans , but with Maggies I fail to see their real need........

    3. A Velodyne Servo-18 would likely be required to generate deep, clean bass in the space your now describe (I have used two Servo-15's in as-large an area with great success), but your budget will be killed. So consider the larger Maggies with their extremely clear and fairly deep bass extension, or the K-horns, and skip the sub.
  • 12-23-2004, 10:00 AM
    topspeed
    Maggies are terrific speakers and while they aren't my personal cup 'o tea, there are a few objective issues with Maggies you should consider. First, they aren't the most efficient speakers. Second, they can be challenging to drive and will require proper amplification. And third, Maggie's require a fair amount of space around and behind them for proper set-up. This last one is a biggie if you have WAF issues to work around because most won't cotton to a pair of imposing monoliths sitting way out in the living room.

    Khorns are also terrific speakers but as Mash noted, you'll need two corners to put them in and if you think Maggies are big, wait'll you get a load of these! Petite they ain't. Fun to listen to though and supremely efficient. You could comfortably drive them with the flea watt SET amps the hi-end crowd slobbers over. If you like rock, these are your boys.

    The Paradigms are also very nice speakers, although I've only listened to the 100's and 20's. On paper, the B&K/Paradigm rig should sound really nice as B&K's have a tendency to roll off the highs and soften the edges. I mention this because some people feel the Studio's can be a bit aggressive and a more euphonic amp might complement this trait. You might also consider Rotel (a bit more neutral), Audio Refinement (smooooth), Parasound Halo's (neutral), and Anthem (somewhat like B&K).

    Again, it's difficult to recommend speakers because we don't have your ears, your taste, or your room acoustics. Being unable to do much, if any, auditioning puts you in a tough spot. You may want to start looking at some of the internet companies that have 30 day trial periods. At least this way you can compare them side to side and just send back what you don't like. It's going to cost you the return shipping but at least you'll know which one sounds best to your ears. av123.com (Rocket), Axiom, Swan, SVS, and Hsu Research seem to be the most mentioned around here.

    Good luck.
  • 12-23-2004, 12:02 PM
    zonik
    have some quick dig pics of the room ? Can we visit after the install. I'm on my way to Loreto on Saturday.....
  • 12-24-2004, 06:01 PM
    ChrisR
    Narrowed this down to 4 systems
    1.Von Schweikert Audio
    System 15 Theater Package

    Description:
    1 pair VR-2 Full-range Towers
    1 LCR-15 Full-range Center
    1 pair TS-150 Surround Speakers
    1 VR-S/1 Powered Subwoofer

    2.Paradigm
    Studio 100 System

    Description:
    1 pair Studio 100 Towers
    1 CC-570 Center
    1 pair ADP-470 Surround Speakers
    1 Servo 15 Subwoofer

    3.Tyler Acoustics
    Taylo Home Theater

    Description:
    4 Taylo Ref Monitors
    1 Taylo Center
    2 Taylo Powered Bass Modules

    4.PSB Speakers
    Paramount Theater System

    Description:
    1 pair Stratus Silver Towers
    1 pair Stratus Minis
    1 Stratus C6i Center
    1 SubSonic 8 Subwoofer

    I am pretty sure I am going to power these with the B&K Reference 125.5 and the B&K Reference 50. But all of these options, based on my research, seem to be excellent. I think I am leaning towards the Paradigms.

    ANY THOUGHTS
  • 12-24-2004, 07:40 PM
    Geoffcin
    Yawn.....it should sound good
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ChrisR
    1.Von Schweikert Audio
    System 15 Theater Package

    Description:
    1 pair VR-2 Full-range Towers
    1 LCR-15 Full-range Center
    1 pair TS-150 Surround Speakers
    1 VR-S/1 Powered Subwoofer

    2.Paradigm
    Studio 100 System

    Description:
    1 pair Studio 100 Towers
    1 CC-570 Center
    1 pair ADP-470 Surround Speakers
    1 Servo 15 Subwoofer

    3.Tyler Acoustics
    Taylo Home Theater

    Description:
    4 Taylo Ref Monitors
    1 Taylo Center
    2 Taylo Powered Bass Modules

    4.PSB Speakers
    Paramount Theater System

    Description:
    1 pair Stratus Silver Towers
    1 pair Stratus Minis
    1 Stratus C6i Center
    1 SubSonic 8 Subwoofer

    I am pretty sure I am going to power these with the B&K Reference 125.5 and the B&K Reference 50. But all of these options, based on my research, seem to be excellent. I think I am leaning towards the Paradigms.

    ANY THOUGHTS

    But with your budget I would look past good. If you told me the VR4jr, then I would consider it a good choice. For ~$5k you want to have a speaker that really grabs you.
  • 12-24-2004, 10:46 PM
    topspeed
    OK Grinch...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    But with your budget I would look past good. If you told me the VR4jr, then I would consider it a good choice. For ~$5k you want to have a speaker that really grabs you.

    Geoff baby, give the guy a break. The Jr's are $4k alone. How in the world is he going to get a center, surrounds, sub, and a front end for $1K? I'll wager the System 15 sounds better than most and will have serious dynamic impact (the VR2's are good to a serious 25hz). You should suggest a Gallo Ref 3/Due' system that would also likely sound excellent.
  • 12-25-2004, 02:36 AM
    drseid
    The Tyler package is your best bet, IMO (no shocker there coming from a guy who owns Tyler Acoustics). They will sound much *MUCH* better than just *good*, trust me.

    My #2 choice would be the VS package, as that offers very good performance and value at your price point.

    The other options don't really excite me, but everyone has different tastes...

    Good luck,

    ---Dave
  • 12-25-2004, 09:40 AM
    ChrisR
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    Geoff baby, give the guy a break. The Jr's are $4k alone. How in the world is he going to get a center, surrounds, sub, and a front end for $1K? I'll wager the System 15 sounds better than most and will have serious dynamic impact (the VR2's are good to a serious 25hz). You should suggest a Gallo Ref 3/Due' system that would also likely sound excellent.


    Are the Jr's that much better than the VR2's?
    Money is not really the issue here. It is my wife letting me spend it. I believe she has come to the realization that I am going to spend considerably more than we originally talked about. VS has the Sytem 30 package that is only $1500 more, and it incorporates the JR's:

    Description:
    1 pair VR-4JR Full-Range Towers
    1 LCR-15 Full-range Center
    1 pair TS-150 Dipole/Monopole Surround Speakers
    1 VR-S/1 Powered Subwoofer

    Plus, I just gave her a very expensive Diamond Bracelet for Christmas.

    PS Those Galo Ref 3's are funny looking.
  • 12-25-2004, 02:00 PM
    Geoffcin
    They grow on you
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ChrisR

    PS Those Galo Ref 3's are funny looking.

    And they are scary good. I'm running them stacked with my Magnepan 3.6r, and supplemented with two Velodyne FSR15 servo subs. While not yet absolute audio nirvana, there's a sense of authority that just the maggies alone didn't give me.