Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

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Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:43 pm

I bought one of the Onkyo HT in a box packages 4 years ago and it has worked excellent for me.
It was a 7.2 surround system and I have mounted the surround and rears to the ceiling and left the fronts on the stands (center under the TV).
I have since upgraded the receiver to a Yamaha A720.
The speakers still are good quality but one of the stands has since fallen and broken the speaker and the stand (cannot just go out and replace 1 or the other) it still works so I am working with it.
I am thinking now though to replace the fronts (and maybe get a matching center).
Anyone have some good suggestions? I'm not an audiophile, I'm a movie buff so my requirements are good sound, not perfect sound and my budget is under $200 for the 2 fronts.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:13 pm

For that price range and application you're going to be looking at 2-way bookshelf speakers in the 6.5" range. Something like the Infinity Primus might be a good place to start, and you can get a matching center channel quite easily.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:07 pm

The Infinity Primus come out to $199 each and $149 for the Center so about double my budget.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:19 pm

I think maybe you're looking at either the Harmon MSRP, or else the tower speakers? The 6.5" 2-way bookshelvers are about $70-80/each from Amazon (or Crutchfield, if you prefer). But yeah, the entry level center-channel for the Primus series is around $150, so if you go this route, you might have to come back to that upgrade a little later.

Speakers make more difference in the soundfield than any other single component in the system. Given that you're progressively rebuilding your system around a $600 receiver, it doesn't make sense to try and make up the savings on the speaker system.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:27 pm

I'm not really going to be able to help you anyway, but if I was, I'd want to know what sort of power output the amp part of your HTIB receiver can manage.

There are loads of good bookshelf speakers for a myriad of different applications but they all have different amp requirements and work better with some amps than others.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:06 pm

If you are more about movies than music I would strongly recommend you find a center channel that you like and get the bookshelves that at least match the tweeters. A common strategy is good bookshelves then good center, then good mains and the bookshelves move to the back. A decent subwoofer shouldn't be left out for movies either. I am a little confused by the >$500 receiver and a $200 speaker budget, though.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:13 pm

frumper15 wrote:If you are more about movies than music I would strongly recommend you find a center channel that you like and get the bookshelves that at least match the tweeters. A common strategy is good bookshelves then good center, then good mains and the bookshelves move to the back. A decent subwoofer shouldn't be left out for movies either. I am a little confused by the >$500 receiver and a $200 speaker budget, though.


Yes. For movies (or just about anything non-music) the center channel is the most important speaker.

$200 for decent left, right and center channel speakers is going to be tough to do. Monoprice has some cheap, half decent speakers for the money, but shipping, especially to Canada, kills the value.

I recommend that you hit the websites of your local box stores and wait for sales or see what you can price match. As long as you go with a brand like Klipsch, Energy, Polk, Boston Acoustics and such, you shouldn't be disappointed for the price you're paying.

For example, at Best Buy Canada, the Klipsch Synergy bookshelves (though the smaller ones with 5.25 woofers) are on sale for $149 per pair until the end of the day. The matching center channel is on sale too, for $129, $280 for all three. The caveat with this center is that the woofers are smaller than in the bookshelves (4" vs 5.25"). Over the $200 budget, but decent value for 3 front speakers. If you can afford a bit more for all 3, then upgrading to the Klipsch F-10 tower speakers for left and rights would probably be worth it, on sale for $170 each, bringing the total to $470 for all 3 speakers. But then you'd have a relatively under performing center channel as the C-10 only has 4" woofers - which, as stated, is not ideal for a movie-centric system.

If you really need to go less than $200 for all three, you could try the precision acoustics, also on sale at Bestbuy Canada. Center and bookshelves for $160, but I don't know if I'd trust precision acoustics personally.

II suggest that you decide if you really want to replace all 3 front speakers (ideal) or just the left and right at this time. If all three, allocate about half of the budget to the center speaker and the other half to the left and rights. For example, at Futureshop, you have the Energy Veritas minis currently on sale. The center is on for $199 and the matching bookshelves are $250 for the pair - $450 for all 3. A bit pricey given your budget, but at all speakers match, at the slightly larger woofers in the Energy vs the Klipsch above should give you better frequency range across the front (and provide a better match with your subwoofer)
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:15 am

Honestly, if you don't need audiophile audio quality and just need the 2 fronts replaced, roll with these Dayton Audio B652s. I use these myself and they are fantastic for the price (i.e. you'll never have buyer's remorse because they're so cheap and aren't utter pieces of crap). Hopefully, you'll be able to find availability in Canada.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:35 am

Arvald wrote:I bought one of the Onkyo HT in a box packages 4 years ago and it has worked excellent for me.
It was a 7.2 surround system and I have mounted the surround and rears to the ceiling and left the fronts on the stands (center under the TV).
I have since upgraded the receiver to a Yamaha A720.
The speakers still are good quality but one of the stands has since fallen and broken the speaker and the stand (cannot just go out and replace 1 or the other) it still works so I am working with it.
I am thinking now though to replace the fronts (and maybe get a matching center).
Anyone have some good suggestions? I'm not an audiophile, I'm a movie buff so my requirements are good sound, not perfect sound and my budget is under $200 for the 2 fronts.

Thanks in advance.


I use Klipsch Quintets myself; have been using those for years. I have eight identical speakers one of which isn't used in my 7.1 setup. With a True Subwoofer Junior, the whole setup works really well.

Quintets are relatively cheap and work well; you can get a 5.1 set for $300 ( http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-QUINTET-S ... 002HWRKA2/ ). Sure; having better bass in the front makes the sound field better, but if you aren't looking for a perfect sound, these might work for you (especially since you'll reuse the subs, I assume..?)
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:50 am

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882269004

I believe these are newer versions of the Energy Take 5 system of speakers I have (I bought mine back in 2000), but if they're anything like my set, then you can't go wrong with them. As usual, you'll benefit by getting their matching sub, but on their own the're pretty awesome.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:40 am

ludi wrote:I think maybe you're looking at either the Harmon MSRP, or else the tower speakers? The 6.5" 2-way bookshelvers are about $70-80/each from Amazon (or Crutchfield, if you prefer). But yeah, the entry level center-channel for the Primus series is around $150, so if you go this route, you might have to come back to that upgrade a little later.

Speakers make more difference in the soundfield than any other single component in the system. Given that you're progressively rebuilding your system around a $600 receiver, it doesn't make sense to try and make up the savings on the speaker system.

My pricing is a little bit different in Canada but I did see the cheaper 6.5" ones but they were not branded Primus.

For others: I did not include the Center in the $200 on purpose as I know a good center can be put the budget to $300-400
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:01 am

I don't think I'll go for the cheap options, the broken speaker works (with no rattle or problems from the break even at high volumes) I'm thinking I may just use zip ties to mount it again.

Chrispy_: I did include my amps model the the Yamaha RX-A720 it is 90W per channel.

frumper13: things are tight after Christmas, later in the year I can manage a larger budget around Tax return time. The rest of the system has been in place for years and is excellent quality so a new Sub is not really in the budget.

Advice of looking for the center first to choose the fronts looks to be good advice I'll have to keep in mind.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:20 am

Another option to consider is investing heavily in the front L/R mains and removing the center channel. The center channel then needs to be set to "none" in the receiver's speaker configuration options (in older ProLogic receivers, "phantom") and the center will then be routed as a mono signal to the fronts. Provided the fronts are positioned correctly with respect to the display and the viewing position, the signal will be perceived as coming from the center, but with a stronger mid-bass response than what most center-channel speakers can provide.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:51 pm

ludi wrote:Another option to consider is investing heavily in the front L/R mains and removing the center channel. The center channel then needs to be set to "none" in the receiver's speaker configuration options (in older ProLogic receivers, "phantom") and the center will then be routed as a mono signal to the fronts. Provided the fronts are positioned correctly with respect to the display and the viewing position, the signal will be perceived as coming from the center, but with a stronger mid-bass response than what most center-channel speakers can provide.


Interesting idea but it also depends on how spread your 2 fronts are... mine are about 10' apart, so this idea would work.

Again my real conundrum is whether to replace them with lower speakers (the whole 7.1 set plus receiver cost me $900 5 years ago so it was cheap) or just do a "fix" as they work fine, and just wait another 2-3 years and replace them with a quality $1000 set.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:06 pm

Arvald wrote:
ludi wrote:Another option to consider is investing heavily in the front L/R mains and removing the center channel. The center channel then needs to be set to "none" in the receiver's speaker configuration options (in older ProLogic receivers, "phantom") and the center will then be routed as a mono signal to the fronts. Provided the fronts are positioned correctly with respect to the display and the viewing position, the signal will be perceived as coming from the center, but with a stronger mid-bass response than what most center-channel speakers can provide.


Interesting idea but it also depends on how spread your 2 fronts are... mine are about 10' apart, so this idea would work.

Again my real conundrum is whether to replace them with lower speakers (the whole 7.1 set plus receiver cost me $900 5 years ago so it was cheap) or just do a "fix" as they work fine, and just wait another 2-3 years and replace them with a quality $1000 set.


For home theater, the most important speakers is the center, followed by the front left and right. If yours was music-centric usage, then maybe I would agree to look at doing the "phantom" center thing. Since this system is home theater first, you want the center speaker.

If the broken speaker still works, I would recommend waiting until you could afford to replace all 3 front speakers (left, center, right front) at once, keeping in mind that a quality center is going to get you the most bang for the buck (ie, avoid deals where the left and rights are an awesome value, but the center is a compromise). Replacing the 3 front speakers at the same time with a matching set is desirable because this way you will have matching tonality and dynamics when the audio sweeps L-C-R across the front. This is much less important for the surround speakers. I would just keep what you have for the surrounds until they no longer work. Definitely do not sacrifice the quality of the front speakers so you can buy new surrounds, if you have ones that are working fine.

The problem with replacing the left and right speakers now (while keeping the current center), is that depending on how badly your broken speaker is damaged, the mix of speakers across the front may not give you better overall performance that what you have now (except for stereo music, of course). Added to this, when you do decide to upgrade the center, you will then have to worry about matching, to the new left and right fronts...
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:31 am

cynan wrote:For home theater, the most important speakers is the center, followed by the front left and right. If yours was music-centric usage, then maybe I would agree to look at doing the "phantom" center thing. Since this system is home theater first, you want the center speaker.

There are different schools of thought, I've tried it both ways. The ultimate goal is to have an accurate soundstage at the audience position, and there's more than one way to achieve it. Center-channel speakers in a home theater necessarily have the most compromises in terms of physical construction, driver sizing, and driver layout because of where and how they have to be positioned, so it doesn't hurt to consider alternative configurations even if the primary use is theater material.
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Re: Speaker Suggestions for Home Theatre

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:30 pm

ludi wrote:There are different schools of thought, I've tried it both ways. The ultimate goal is to have an accurate soundstage at the audience position, and there's more than one way to achieve it. Center-channel speakers in a home theater necessarily have the most compromises in terms of physical construction, driver sizing, and driver layout because of where and how they have to be positioned, so it doesn't hurt to consider alternative configurations even if the primary use is theater material.


I try it both ways all the time too. The reason is because I have a stereo amp that I prefer to use for music and an audio-video receiver that's obviously preferable for home theater. Yes, you can get some pretty convincing imaging just using the left and right channels - especially if you have good quality bookshelf speakers (the closer the drivers are to each other and the less area the combined array occupies, the more the speaker will tend to disappear and image better. This is the only performance benefit bookshelves can have over tower-sized speakers). For casual TV watching, I find either to be equivalent, more or less. However, when watching a properly mastered recent movie (with a 5.1 or more DD or DTS track), in most cases, the dedicated center channel wins.

When surround sound first started becoming popular in the 90s, Dolby Prologic was the only game in town. All you had was a stereo source signal. However, since that time, and especially in the years following the introduction of DD, DTS and their lossless versions, the mastering of sound tracks have been increasingly refined in the way they take advantage of dedicated channels. With a center speaker, your doing it "the way it's meant to be played", and to my ears, usually sounds better with properly mastered content (ie, recent movies).

Your point about compromised center channels is important. If your center channel is markedly compromised (either by design, or because it is wedged into the back of an entertainment cabinet when it's not meant to operate in those conditions) compared to your main fronts, then this may well turn the tables. This is why I strongly recommended in an above post to avoid compromising on the center speaker and getting 3 front speakers that are matched. My 3 front speakers are identical and situated more or less, as intended by design, so I don't have this issue.
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