General Speaker Advice and Recommendations

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by shotgunshane, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. shuto

    shuto Rando

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    After selling my Kef Q150 at the recommendation of people here, I'm considering selling my Klipsch Rp-160m bookshelf speakers and RP-440 center channel, to be replaced by a pair of floorstanding ones.

    Which speakers should I be considering, used or refurbished, preferably? Seating position is going to be about 8-9 feet, depending on how close to the wall the speakers need to be. I'll mostly use it for heavy music, so speed, dynamics and clarity are important. Initially, I'll power them with a Denon Avr but will upgrade the amp after I get the speakers.

    I'm hoping to stay under $1000 used. Would pay maybe a bit more for something refurbished or b-stock with a warranty.

    Also, should I only consider towers with 8-inch woofers? I started looking into the Focal Chora 826, but it only has a 6.5-inch woofer, which is what's in my current bookshelf speakers. A pair would run about $1600, which sounds like a lot for speakers with a small woofer. Am I looking at this wrong?

    @Psalmanazar
     
  2. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    So I found a potential buyer for my Energy RC-10 and RC-LCR that have been great for the last almost 10 years. They have been fantastic for HT use and I enjoy their sound for music at least from a tonality/freq response standpoint. Where they have fallen short is dynamics and soundstage. I get no thwack or grunt, and the only time I get any real sense of space is when I use one of the DSP modes from the Denon receiver I am using. My space stinks for speaker placement, so whatever the room is doing will have to stay the same. I also am not likely to replace the Denon.

    Given all that, I am once again looking at getting L, C, and R speakers, which will do 70% HT/gaming and 30% pure music listening. I really wanted to go with the Helix Dome speakers from DIY Soundgroup, but they have been out of stock for a couple years. Currently eyeballing the XLR Encores from GR Research, but don't want to go with all the upgrades and can't find any real reviews of the base model. There is an endless ocean of consumer speakers in my price range, but hard to tell if any will actually be better than my Energy speakers. Going up to maybe $1200 for all three speakers, does anyone have any recommendations? For preferences, I very much dislike anything bright or fatiguing. I have tried both the Overnight Sensations and the Carmody S2000s as LRs in my system and while different from the RC-10s, I don't know if either was an upgrade (the OS are doing great as my rear channel speakers).

    Thanks!
    PS Here is a shot of the space - office door on the right, corner on the left which is where there is a chimney bump out.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I too own the RC-10s and use them at the desk. In a solo 2.0 role with TV they were ok, but at my low listening levels the diaglog can be a bit hard to understand at times. And since they were feet from the wall bass suffered a bit. But clean and really hard to beat for the money. I am now using cheap Dayton MK-402X which have a big bass bump and a bit of crispness but overall are more enjoyable with TV.

    I was also considering going down the path of S200 or, C-Notes and wondered if they would really be a worthy upgrade. Seems you have answered that question for me.

    I did have a listen to a bunch of speakers in the bookshelf space.

    Elac- BDR62 Ref- Boring, not dynamic
    Elac- UB5 - a midrangey speaker if there ever was one and took lots of power to get them to bark, serious rolled top end and pure crap even at $350 pr. I actually bought these unheard, urgh!

    Klipsch R-51M- Decent on dynamics, no real low bass, shouty at times, crispiness, not a fan of the controlled dispersiion. Not bad even with these faults but unless you find them on sale at under $200 a pair like I did, I would pass.

    B&W 607 S2 - typical B&W U shaped sound with sunken mids. 606 may be better but was not avail for listening.

    Focal - Chora 806- not bad but still felt mids were a bit reticent- the Aria was even worse in that regard.

    Dali Oberon 3- not bad but no other notes, my impression was they are not good enough for a dedicated music only system.

    Monitor Audio Bronze 100- the most different than all the others with lifted low treble and accentuation of sibilance on stuff like Patricia Barber. Although the silver series has better measurements and may offer more refinement, have not heard any

    JBL- 308MkII- cheap cabinet is laughable but overall balance not bad, Do not like the focused directivity though. I have not been a horn fan for the most part.. bought and returned quite quickly


    What I liked for a Music based setup

    Spendor A4- $3500 pr. Excellent balance and openness, big soundstage. Smaller A2 @ $2600 pr are not even close.

    Dali Opticon 6 Mkii - $2500 Good overall balance- Sweet and detailed treble I would consider these if they were half that price.

    B&W - 603S2 - Not bad, less mid recess.

    Hope this helps with getting a shortlist in order.

    I am on a journey to find an under $1k pr. for music and maybe a $200 pr for TV. I will be watching this thread.

    EDIT: I forgot my favorite of the bunch on my two store visit, considering price

    The new Sonus Faber Lumina III - $2200 a pair. Made in Italy and seriously well balanced sound for my ear.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
  4. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    I too wonder about the Encores, as well as the smaller OB speakers like the Caintuck Betsy for a smaller room and low volume listening
     
  5. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    If you’re looking at DIY, you may want to look at CSS Criton 1TD as well as the Encores. They Critons are a bit more expensive though. Apparently they’ve got more bass extension and a bit less bright up top. This guy compares them if it’s helpful (he also reviews each one seperately too):


    They also have a Criton center channel I believe.

    Another option to consider if you don’t want DIY is the new Polk Reserve series. R100 or R200 for bookshelfs. Good reviews on them.
     
  6. Qildail

    Qildail Friend

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    I have the DBR62s on my main system right now. I do like how horizontally wide they are. I'm not sure I'd go all the way to "boring", but they're definitely "safe". I think I'm going to add a small sub though, because they seem to bottom out pretty anemically in my room (nature of the bookshelf beast I suppose).

    From what I've read on the UBR62, it's more of the same, but... better... maybe?

    These things... I admit I bought the hype on them too. They sounded so awful to me I dragged them downstairs to the AVR to make sure my integrated amp hadn't failed. Back they went.

    I would be interested in watching this unfold as well. $1K is a nice target line for my next upgrade.
     
  7. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I could definitely see how the DBR62 might do great on a desk. In the showroom at about 8-9 feet the DBR62 reminded me of my old PSB Image B25 speakers, not dynamic The PSBs measure remarkably well but sounded really effing boring on the TV 8-9 feet away at the time.

    On the desk - -- - -- That is one place where even the slightest peak or hardness will reveal it's ugly head. I'm looking at you Klipsch.

    And I would have never put my TV based KEF Q100s on a desk, ouch!.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
  8. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Rooms play such a huge factor. My old bonus room in GA was a tough one. Everything sounded lean and boomy and forward all at the same time. Room correction helped some but I was never engaged with my system back there. But here in Florida, with a more modest system overall, my living room sounds great with most anything so far.

    The DBR62 sounds pretty fantastic in my living room. I use a sub in my system and I think it blends a little better with the front ported DBR62 than the sealed C3. It doesn’t sound boring or lacking dynamics here. But it is tilted slightly warm, so I can see now in a different environment it could easily skew overboard into too warm and overly smooth. The C3’s are certainly more lively and crisp in a good way but lack note richness/heft and warmth. The DBR62’s sound pretty wide but the C3’s seem to have amazing dispersion and sound even wider with a bit more depth too.

    As much as I like the transparency and top end of the C3’s, I do get fatigued fairly quickly, whereas I can keep rocking out with the DBR62’s song after song after song.
     
  9. haywood

    haywood Friend

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  10. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Carmody does have a more specific HT set.

    https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/home-theater-speakers/swope-ht

    It uses similar drivers as OSMT but not voiced the same way. The main L/R channels are MTM too
     
  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I remember them from No Audiophile

    http://noaudiophile.com/CSS_Audio_1TD_v2/

    They do have a center channel as well as an updated tweeter and even a bass cabinet option to make a 3-way speakers. Looks really nice
     
  12. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    I'd look at getting two(identical) subs and crossing them over at 80-100hz. Feed them both a summed signal from L and R to battle room modes. Place them at strategic places etc.

    Will probably take some time but it should give you all the dynamics you want. If you get another speaker and place it in the same spot you'll probably end up with a similar low end and just a different flavor of treble.
     
  13. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    Too many posts to repond to, but thank you all. So it basically looks like I can get different, but not necessarily better in the consumer range without extending my budget quite a bit. I was thinking about in home auditions for some Kef Q350s, the Polk R200s, Wharfedale 12.2s, and the Elac DBR62s to see what low-mid consumer stuff sounds like now, but honestly the idea of buying them all and doing proper listening and then returning potentially all of them turned me off of that idea (those Polk woofers look super cool, though).

    Though most of my DIY is leather related now, I still have an itch to build another set of speakers. If there had been proper flatpacks when I first saw them, I probably would have done the Swopes instead of the OS back in the day. Not sure how much I'd like them as I could always hear a slight metallic touch from the OS woofer when used as mains. XLS Encores seemed like the only option for a while, but as soon as I started looking at the CSS Audio 1TDs, I am 95% sure I am going to go with them, though just the base builds hit the top of my budget. I like that the upgrades look super simple to implement at a later date and they even have a quasi 3 way mod where you basically build two subs as stands (though my Rhythmik L12 has been everything I hoped it would be).

    If I do pull the trigger on the 1TDs, I will do a build thread and do my best to provide useful impressions (maybe even get a mic and do measurements!).
     
  14. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    What is the minimum $ and models for a pair of powered small monitors for computer use that has an active crossover? Budget is entry level.

    Most of the $100 a pair or $200 a pair powered use passive crossovers and cheap chip amps. I am again considering moving from passive speakers with a decent amp to active but want the active crossover benefits or else I stay put. All the ones with a simple cable to the drone speaker from the one with amp in it are passively crossed for example.
     
  15. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Even the Kali Audio LP-6's are bi amped, have unbalanced ins as well as balanced ins, and switches for low boost/cut as well as high boost/cut. Kali was made by some of the ex-JBL engineers that did not get along with Samsung. LP-8's if you want something bigger.

    You can go to Sweetwater's Active Monitor page and use the filter for Bi-amped models.
     
  16. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    You may have to punch up to the Genelec G One sort of territory for $350 each to get out of bluetooth/convenience stuff.
     
  17. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    In a teardown I saw that the Swans d1010 have a DSP chip

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002287866813.html
     
  18. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Thanks for the tips guys.

    I did own a pair of hyped Swans many years ago, they were crap. Perhaps they have improved but I will pass on them as a brand I would consider.
     
  19. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    In my opinion a really good solution would be:

    https://www.abacus-electronics.de/produkte/aktivlautsprecher/c-box.html

    The smaller one of the two.

    Here is a review (in German):


    https://www.fairaudio.de/test/abacus-c-box-3-aktiv-lautsprecher-und-linetreiber/

    and a review of its predecessor (in English):

    https://6moons.com/audioreviews/abacus4/2.html

    They do sound rather grown up for their size. Abacus is a small German audio company who do sell directly to the customer. Unfortunately the cost to import these to the States might be prohibitive.

    Active crossover no dsp
     
  20. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    thx, great looking tech, but $1000 + per pair is way way out of my price range.

    Looks like I will be remaining in "passiveville" unless the sweetwater search turns something up.
     

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