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Topic # 130835 29-Sep-2013 20:52
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Hi All,

I am putting together a Home entertainment setup and am struggling to choose what to get re speakers.

I have a HTPC running XBMC and a Sony STR-DH740 7.2ch decoder (145w to each channel).

Last on my list is speakers. I want to spend about $2500 and my wish list includes 7.1 with a powered sub. I don't know enough about HT speakers to make a decent decision, and don't trust sales staff =P.

What would you recommend, and why? I'm open to new and/or second hand and don't necessarily need to buy a set.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Edit - Sorry, should have mentioned that it will primarily be used for movies, and I'm more interested in sound quality then volume.

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2358 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 904773 29-Sep-2013 21:13
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Do you really need that many speakers as what are you going to listen to that has that many channels.

I have:

http://www.avalon.co.nz/subwoofer-speaker-sets/73-kef-t305b.html
+
2 * sets of http://www.avalon.co.nz/speaker-stands/272-kef-t-series-speaker-stands.html

The Stands really make them look a lot better IMHO but its really up to you depending where you are going to put them. You can mount them on the wall if needed as they come with all the mountings.

And yes they eally thin but the quality of the sounds is great.

For more of your budget you can go for the same but with slightly smaller back speakers.

http://www.avalon.co.nz/subwoofer-speaker-sets/92-kef-kht20053.html

or

http://www.avalon.co.nz/subwoofer-speaker-sets/94-kef-kht20053.html with small front and back

They even have white versions of them if your decor suits it.

So go some place who actually know what they are doing. I got mine from Avalon in Newmarket.

The KEFs are quite expensive and I am sure others will suggest much cheaper ones like the diamonds (If they are any good)


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  Reply # 904789 29-Sep-2013 21:35
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If you don't trust sales people, don't go to the importers!! They're even worse, they don't get to sell anything OTHER than what they bring into the country. Go and talk to a specialist, see what they can offer you, then, most importantly, trust your ears.
Draw a map of your room, figure if the speakers need to be placed close to the walls, or if they can sit half a meter of more out into the room. If they can't be given room to breathe, look for a speaker that is front ported / bottom ported, or even a sealed box design.

Note - the next part is generalizing A LOT!

Next up, decide where your Sony receiver excells, is it detailed? Mellow? Middle of the road sonically? Pick a speaker that accentuates your receivers strengths, and flatters its weaknesses. Mellow / slow receiver? Look for metal domed tweeters / horn loaded tweeters. Detailed (toppy) sounding amp? Pair it with soft domed drivers etc.

As an aside, I'd look for speakers with high sensitivity (91db or more) as your receiver's 145 watt rating is a bit of marketing guff to be honest. Sony have measured it a 1kHz @ 6ohms... with 1% THD. This makes it look impressive in the catalogue, but it's not 100% honest. You should be looking at a manufacturer who releases straight forward stats like 20Hz-20kHz @8ohms 0.05% THD...

My $0.02.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 904866 30-Sep-2013 08:33
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IMO 7.1 is a total waste of time unless you have a dedicated home theatre room. Very little content has 7.1 encoded as standard, and getting it working in a useful fashion requires very careful planning and setup. 5.1 is more than adequate.

FWIW I've got the KEF KHT 2005.3 "egg" speakers which are good value for money. The subwoofer is rubbish but the satellites are good. I had a far superior JBL sub unit but stupidly sold it.

Generally speaking, stores aren't going to recommend anything other than what they're selling. Your price range may be for speakers that are more than your receiver can drive to their full ability, but that at least means you can upgrade to a higher-end receiver in the future. 

Most audio specialists are going to be less likely to recommend speakers when it's for a surround-sound configuration, as they tend to be purists who prefer a high-end amplifier and stereo speakers. There's not likely to be anyone you can go to for unbiased recommendations other than maybe an installation contractor who will charge $$ for their opinion.

Personally, I'm a big fan of the higher-end B&W speakers (>6 series). They look nice, they sound nice.





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  Reply # 905144 30-Sep-2013 14:27
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Dunnersfella:

As an aside, I'd look for speakers with high sensitivity (91db or more) as your receiver's 145 watt rating is a bit of marketing guff to be honest. Sony have measured it a 1kHz @ 6ohms... with 1% THD. This makes it look impressive in the catalogue, but it's not 100% honest. You should be looking at a manufacturer who releases straight forward stats like 20Hz-20kHz @8ohms 0.05% THD...

My $0.02.


total bullsh it power numbers.
the sony would be lucky to output any more than 30-40wpc, all channels driven.

still, it's enough for some kef eggs in a small room or a wharfedale diamond suite in a larger room.

a little bit more and you could put together a nice little monitor audio ht system.



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  Reply # 905212 30-Sep-2013 16:08
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LennonNZ: Do you really need that many speakers as what are you going to listen to that has that many channels.

I have:

http://www.avalon.co.nz/subwoofer-speaker-sets/73-kef-t305b.html
+
2 * sets of http://www.avalon.co.nz/speaker-stands/272-kef-t-series-speaker-stands.html

The Stands really make them look a lot better IMHO but its really up to you depending where you are going to put them. You can mount them on the wall if needed as they come with all the mountings.

And yes they eally thin but the quality of the sounds is great.

For more of your budget you can go for the same but with slightly smaller back speakers.

http://www.avalon.co.nz/subwoofer-speaker-sets/92-kef-kht20053.html

or

http://www.avalon.co.nz/subwoofer-speaker-sets/94-kef-kht20053.html with small front and back

They even have white versions of them if your decor suits it.

So go some place who actually know what they are doing. I got mine from Avalon in Newmarket.

The KEFs are quite expensive and I am sure others will suggest much cheaper ones like the diamonds (If they are any good)



I also recommend Kef speakers.  I have a 5.0 setup of Kef XQ's (sub is next on the list but hard to find when they don't make the model any more!).  Second hand you could easily get 4 of the XQ's under your budget and they are seriously good speakers.  One of the better things about them is they are not just square boxes - they have a tapered finish towards the back (some of the Whafedale's also have this look) and come in white like LennonNZ says.

I also agree with the comments re 7.1 - I had the option to 'upgrade' to 7 speakers, but a few problems stopped me:

1) As mentioned lack of real 7.1 content - not worth the outlay for the few titles
2) Where do you put them to properly appreciate the audio?
3) Extra cabling - hard to hide unless you can run it under floors our around the edges of a room
3a) decent cabling costs and doesn't like being bent around sharp corners
4) Components - you need a source and amp capable of 7.1, such as Blu-ray player.  My amp is only 5 channel so I would need an upgrade

I suggest a nice 2.1 system or even 4.0 to start with and upgrade from there.  Personally I think the addition of rear speakers creates a much better sound stage for movies than a sub or center channel on a 2.0 system.

Finally if you are in Auckland go to Avalon Audio in Newmarket, they are one of the few true audio shops left around.

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  Reply # 905670 1-Oct-2013 12:51
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Shop around and listen to different brands of speakers and see what you like, that's the only thing important

One thing I would say is that certain shops would have there speakers in purpose built rooms for sound and also run high end amps/receivers which makes the speaker sounds better

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