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  1. #1
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    What would you do? Klipsch Vs. Monitor Audio

    I currently have a Klipsch Reference 5.1 setup consisting of RF-25 Towers, RC-25 center, and RS-25 surrounds. I mostly listen to music, usually 2-channel (without the sub), but I also like my multi-channel SACDs, and 5 channel stereo when I'm puttering about or we have people over. Lately, I've found myself really tiring of the Klipsch sound, particularly for music. Movies are fine, as are concert DVDs, but straight music has become fatiguing and shrill at higher volumes and a bit flat at lower volumes - seems that there is only a narrow volume range where it all comes together to sound decent. I've had Klipsch speakers since the mid 80s so maybe it has just taken me a long time to admit that I now want a more grown up sound - something smoother, more laid back, and more refined, but not lacking in clarity, detail, and punch. Something more musical, I guess.

    So I'm thinking of selling the Klipsch system (keeping the sub, though) and purchasing a pair of Monitor Audio RX1s with a Bronze BX center channel. I would temporarily press into service an old pair of Boston HD-5s and rears until I could get a set of BXFX surrounds. Since any purchases could not exceed the proceeds from the sale of the Klipsches, the budget is very tight and rears don't fit right now. Someday, way out there, I might replace the BX center with a Silver but not any time soon. My listening area isn't huge (15' wide X 14' deep X 8') but it is open on one end to the dining area/kitchen. My handy iPhone spl meter tells me that most of my listening is 70 to 85db and that anything above 90db at my listening position is really loud and I'm afraid the neighbors will come knocking - I guess I can't vouch for the accuracy of the app though.

    So what would you do? The obvious concerns would be is a much smaller speaker (It would fit the room better) going to provide room filling volume, and how well would the BX/RX combo blend. That and can I even do this with the cash I can get out of the Klipschs (I have actually considered selling everything including the sub and getting some RX6 towers, but I might be stuck at 2-channel for some time!).

    Thanks!

    Martin

  2. #2
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    You could check to see if any of the old RX series are being closed out online any where, the Silver & Gold have new series, RS & GS, I'm assuming the same for Bronze. The best thing to do is to see how much the new speakers will cost and if you are able to sell the Klipsch set up for that amount or close enough.

    The Monitor Audio have received their fair share of criticism for being bright, have you heard them? I think they'd be better balanced than the Klipsch by adding a more solid bottom end. Have you listened to any Energy speakers? They are pretty good and offer models in a good budget price.

    If your ap is close to correct I think you'd be fine with bookshelf/monitor speakers, especially with the sub fill in on the bottom.
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  3. #3
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    PS, if considering doing things in steps don't forget you have a "phantom center" channel setting.
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  4. #4
    RGA
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    Is the player that you are using a dedicated CD player or is it the thrown in bit in a universal machine? You say it sounds fine on SACD, movies and the like - so perhaps you may not want to shoot the messenger if it's merely telling you that the CD player portion is a hunk of junk. The speakers may in fact be better than you think.

    Horns get a bum rap but they can be quite good if partnered well. Try a dedicated good quality CD player before you throw money at Monitor Audio (which have their own critics who call them bright). Doesn't seem like a good use of money until you truly find the problem. Some receivers are not the best in the brightness camp either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    You could check to see if any of the old RX series are being closed out online any where, the Silver & Gold have new series, RS & GS, I'm assuming the same for Bronze. The best thing to do is to see how much the new speakers will cost and if you are able to sell the Klipsch set up for that amount or close enough.

    The Monitor Audio have received their fair share of criticism for being bright, have you heard them? I think they'd be better balanced than the Klipsch by adding a more solid bottom end. Have you listened to any Energy speakers? They are pretty good and offer models in a good budget price.

    If your ap is close to correct I think you'd be fine with bookshelf/monitor speakers, especially with the sub fill in on the bottom.
    The BR and RS are the older versions of the newer BX and RX and word is that they have really smoothed out the top end, particularly on the RX. They both get great reviews but the RX line generally seems to play well above their league. I have heard MAs described as bright, but generally from folks who like a really laid back sound. I can't imagine that they are anything like my Klipsch. I haven't listened to them though. I suspect that given my point of reference, almost everything will sound more laid back to me.

    The nearest place that has the RX1s is Magnolia near Seattle (3.5 hours away) so I can't really listen before I buy. But, they will send them down to our BB/Magnolia and I can try them for 30 days. I did listen very briefly to some B&W 684s (nice, didn't seem bright at all), a pair of Energy CF-50s (also seemed pretty decent), and a pair of Definitives (seemed soft and indistinct). The problem is that the room acoustics (absolutely dead) are so radically different from my house that I'm not sure I learned anything at all.

    Amazon has a great deal on CF-30s right now, but that seems like a lateral move at best versus my Klipsch. They would be cheap, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    PS, if considering doing things in steps don't forget you have a "phantom center" channel setting.
    I actually did use this setting years ago when I had Klipsch KG4s and thought it did a good job, but I never did directly compare it to having a CC.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Is the player that you are using a dedicated CD player or is it the thrown in bit in a universal machine? You say it sounds fine on SACD, movies and the like - so perhaps you may not want to shoot the messenger if it's merely telling you that the CD player portion is a hunk of junk. The speakers may in fact be better than you think.

    Horns get a bum rap but they can be quite good if partnered well. Try a dedicated good quality CD player before you throw money at Monitor Audio (which have their own critics who call them bright). Doesn't seem like a good use of money until you truly find the problem. Some receivers are not the best in the brightness camp either.
    I have an Oppo universal player and an old beast of a Kenwood DP-990SG CD player that I'm using as a transport. CDs have the same character played through either. My receiver is a Yamaha RX-V520 (80w rms 20-20). One of the things I have a problem with is complicated passages with a lot going on come through as just an irritating wall of noise that just makes me want to reach for the volume and turn the damn thing down. I recently noticed this on one of the last tracks on the new Mumford & Sons CD.

    I think that one reasons that SACD and DVD concerts sound fine is that I tend to listen to them at a lower volume level, putting them more in the "sweet spot" I mentioned.

    I should mention again that the only budget I have to improve my listening experience is what I can get out of selling stuff and my receiver basically has no value. The Klipschs, however, do have some value.

  8. #8
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcbr1
    IOne of the things I have a problem with is complicated passages with a lot going on come through as just an irritating wall of noise that just makes me want to reach for the volume and turn the damn thing down. I recently noticed this on one of the last tracks on the new Mumford & Sons CD.
    I suspect that may rule out RGA's suggestion, though the thought behind it is sound. No matter the source player, I can't imagine any Klipsch (save, perhaps, the La Scalla) playing music of any complexity well. Mumford & Sons, while not having some of the PRaT and textural demands as symphonic music for example, has some interesting instrumentation and delicacies to it. If that's your common fare I can see where the problem comes from...a case of the muddies...

    Unfortunately, this may be a long term project given your budget restrictions.
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  9. #9
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    I have the Monitor Bronze in a bedroom 5.1 and I wouldn't write home about them. For what they cost you could get some full rangers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist
    I have the Monitor Bronze in a bedroom 5.1 and I wouldn't write home about them. For what they cost you could get some full rangers.
    Which models do you have?

  11. #11
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    Monitor Bronze BR's

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist
    Monitor Bronze BR's
    Are they the dedicated rear channel speakers or BR1 or BR2 bookshelves?

  13. #13
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    mcbr1 -

    It seems there could be several things going on.

    1) speaker issue
    2) source issue
    3) amp can't drive the speakers well at high level w/ complex music (so an amp issue)

    My only advice, since you seem to be on a tight budget, would be to demo anything you want to buy before selling what you currently have. Take time and don't rush this - because you could end up with something worse than what you have now.
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  14. #14
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    If you can return the RX1 after 30 days, then it certainly doesn't hurt to try them.

    I used to own the old Monitor Audio RS5, which I thought was great in just about all respects other than the highs, which were simply way too much.

    I home demoed the RX2 and decided it was too much speaker for my room. But that hard treble of the old RS series did seem to be reigned in quite a bit, and the sense I got was that the highs were actually nicely done. But I didn't listen to it for an extended period, and so who knows how I'd have felt in the long run?
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    I agree that at a certain point, even with clean power, Klipsch seem to lose it. It's like the music loses clarity and becomes a big glare. My first experience with Klipsch this happened and soured me on the line for years. I tried a large set of KLF, the model with two 10's and a horn, strapped them to a Krell integrated thinking this should rock, whoo.... with a bit of volume they fell apart. A friend of mine with some LaScalla's got me interested in the line again. I was impressed by the Forte which are great under the point we are discussing. I also have a set of Heresy III to play around with. I want to get around to playing with biamping the Heresy, I notice others who biamp the Klipsch it seems to help quite a bit for some reason.

    As you have a Magnolia, have you heard the Martin Logan, Motion series? I thought they sounded good. B&W have their fans as well, a shame you can't get them in your room for a listen.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I agree that at a certain point, even with clean power, Klipsch seem to lose it. It's like the music loses clarity and becomes a big glare. My first experience with Klipsch this happened and soured me on the line for years. I tried a large set of KLF, the model with two 10's and a horn, strapped them to a Krell integrated thinking this should rock, whoo.... with a bit of volume they fell apart. A friend of mine with some LaScalla's got me interested in the line again. I was impressed by the Forte which are great under the point we are discussing. I also have a set of Heresy III to play around with. I want to get around to playing with biamping the Heresy, I notice others who biamp the Klipsch it seems to help quite a bit for some reason.

    As you have a Magnolia, have you heard the Martin Logan, Motion series? I thought they sounded good. B&W have their fans as well, a shame you can't get them in your room for a listen.
    I'm going to go and listen to some of these today.

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    Changing direction, perhaps

    Any thoughts on the Denon AVR 1911 versus the Yamaha RX-V667 or the RX-A700 as a match for my Klipsch Reference setup? Any better than what I have now as far as amplification goes?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcbr1
    Any thoughts on the Denon AVR 1911 versus the Yamaha RX-V667 or the RX-A700 as a match for my Klipsch Reference setup? Any better than what I have now as far as amplification goes?
    I doubt very much that a Denon will make any significant difference...perhaps if only from it's tendency to get "etchy" at high volumes.

    If it were me, I'd arrange to audition an extremely hi-end Class A tube amp; one so expensive there's no way you could afford it without getting a second or third mortgage. There's a method to this madness. Try something with as few output transistors, as little processesing, as little everything but a straight signal and pure current.

    While I wouldn't call Klipsch "transparent" or full of "finesse" they are highly efficient. Theoretically, the more global feedback introduced into the chain the murkier the sound will ultimately be. It may be, simply, that these speakers are never going to do what you want them to within the confines of your budget.
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    Personally, I think a newer Yamaha would be a better match with the Klipsch over Denon. Denon to my ears seems to lean to the bright side which with the Klipsch may not be the best thing. On the other hand I think Denon would give you that better low end detail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Personally, I think a newer Yamaha would be a better match with the Klipsch over Denon. Denon to my ears seems to lean to the bright side which with the Klipsch may not be the best thing. On the other hand I think Denon would give you that better low end detail.
    The reviews I've read of the AVR 1911 have said that it does have a mellower sound that's a little rolled off at the very top, particularly compared to the earlier AVR 1910. I've also read a lot about Yamaha and Klipsch being a match made in bright sounding hell. Are newer Yamahas more laid back and warm? Mine is around an '02 I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcbr1
    I'm going to go and listen to some of these today.
    So I went to BB/Magnolia with some music that I know well and that gives my system trouble. I listened to B&W 684s and and Energy CF-50s driven by a Denon AVR-1611 with 5 fewer watts than my Yamaha RX-V520. I got them up to 88 to 92 db (-8 to -10 db on the dial) according to my iPhone SPL meter.

    Both sets of speakers remained composed during even the post dynamic passages with lots of treble content. Both seemed to avoid the brittle screech that I get on various songs and they both were able to maintain distinction between instruments and voices. Interestingly, at the same SPL, my setup seems MUCH louder to the point of discomfort at points.

    I thought both speakers sounded very good but the B&Ws, predictably, had a significant edge. The bass was deeper, tighter, and more controlled. They seemed to have a bit more punch in the mids and seemed perfectly smooth in the highs (Don't these have a rep for an aggressive, unpleasant edge to the highs?) . They always remained composed. The Energys were surprisingly good for their size and price, but the bass, while reasonably low, was undefined and loose (woolly?). The mids had a little less impact but the highs managed to be both smooth and detailed and never annoying.

    So again, I'm not sure what I learned. Does the problem reside in my amp, or my speakers (I don't think it's my room, but who knows)? I guess I did learn that it's possible to sound good at pretty high volume levels on some of the particular songs I have issues with.

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    Did they have the Martin Logan's? Just buy a set of B&W to take home and your question is answered. I've read people say Yamaha is bright but I have yet to hear a piece I'd describe as "too bright". I'd start with the speakers and see how your amp does then if not exactly what you are looking for when funds replenish buy a new receiver.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Did they have the Martin Logan's? Just buy a set of B&W to take home and your question is answered. I've read people say Yamaha is bright but I have yet to hear a piece I'd describe as "too bright". I'd start with the speakers and see how your amp does then if not exactly what you are looking for when funds replenish buy a new receiver.
    They did have the Motion 8 and the 12 but I ran out of time before I could give those a listen.

    I think I'm inclined at this point to go the receiver route, partly because the price of entry is much lower - $399 vs. $1100. The AVR 1911 has a good number of features that my old unit lacks, plus I think the amplifier section will be much better, and the Audyssey EQ may go a long way in helping to tame the highs. Plus, I've always been a bit of a skeptic of the whole "system matching" thing and this will be a great test. If the issue ends up being the same, I'll know it's the speakers, sell them and move ahead with a system built around a nicer receiver.

    So, anyone need a Giant TCX cyclocross frame and fork? $400 ish?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcbr1
    Plus, I've always been a bit of a skeptic of the whole "system matching" thing :
    Don't be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    Don't be.
    Perhaps I'll be convinced!

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