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Need help with HT speaker selection! [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum


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02-12-00, 04:58 AM
I just purchased a Toshiba 3109 DVD player; yes, I've finally entered the digital home video age and I'm happy. But my audio situation is dire! Must upgrade now! But have a verry limited budget (-$700) to purchase a HT speaker setup.

Here are two possibilities I've been mulling over:

1. AR 318PS for fronts, AR 215PS (or 216PS) for rear/surrounds, AR 225PS for center. I can purchase this all for $475-525, not including shipping. OR

2. Energy Take 5 w/8" sub for around $600, not including shipping.

Music vs. HT usage will be about 50/50. I'll be demo'ing the Take 5's this weekend (and will be checking carefully for the oft-mentioned midrange "hole"). The AR setup is virtually impossible to demo as configured. SO ... I'd love to get the forum's feedback, including any great alternatives (like, say the Atlantic Tech Compact Theater I's at OneCall?).

Thanks in advance!

02-12-00, 08:53 AM
I got the Sony SS-CR490 center/surround package for $130. It compliments a pair of front speakers to give you five channels. Eventually i'll get a subwoofer.

The system sounds great.

It sounds like you also need a reciever.
You should be able to find a DTS/DD reciever for 300 or less. (The sony strde835 does well)

02-12-00, 11:04 AM
a friend of mine got the atlantic tech's. personally, i didn't think it sounded as good, but the problem is that his living room acoustics are very different from mine and plus, his are directly wall mounted whereas mine are stand mounted and that can make a big difference too. PLUS, i have the 10" subwoofer (which i recommend) and he has the 8" which is your only choice if you go with the AT system because it's one package.

02-12-00, 06:32 PM
Thanks guys for the info and advice!

I was also hoping to get some feedback specific to the Energy Take 5's w/8" subwoofer versus the Acoustic Research (aka AR) setup that I described in my original post, although injecting the AT Compact Theatre Ones into the comparison mix wouldn't hurt! Hopefully some other folks will add to this discussion!

Thanks again!

02-12-00, 06:59 PM
I'm using a set of Energy Encores (a step up from Take 5), and they've worked out very well. I have the fronts sitting in my RPTV cabinet, and the rears mounted on stands at the back of the room.


M i c h a e l
02-13-00, 02:24 PM
The Energy Take 5s are very tiny.

If you can stretch that $700 a tiny bit,
you can go from an average system to an
excellent system.

Fronts: Paradigm Mini-Monitors ($280 street)
Center: Paradigm CC-350 ($340 street)
Surrounds: Paradigm Titan ($175 street)

To add later, the Paradigm PS-1000 is about
$400 street, and has almost no competition in
its price range. But the Mini-Monitors will
have plenty of bass and impact for awhile.

The Mini-Monitors are highly-regarded audio
speakers in their own right for music
listening; none of these 'home-theater-in-a-box'
systems can make that claim.

For the the Mini-Monitors to handle HT, is a
walk in the park.

Additional Info: http://www.paradigm.ca/Website/ParadigmProduct/prodlistparadigm.html


Good luck!

02-13-00, 04:11 PM
Ok, the AR's use a poly carb tweeter (cheap). The Take fives have dome tweeters. So for this reason I would lean to the Take 5.

AR made the PS line as an entry level product. The Target was Sears. This does not mean they are bad just that they were a cost first type of project. If a deal is your main issue. I would add Ininfity Reference and JBL HLS speakers to your search. These are both being closed out and deals can be found on a lot of websites. Also look at the new Pioneer line at Buybidwin (I know it sound crazy!) but they have them for around half off and there are some 30%off codes on the dvd bargain forum. These were review very well by ETOWN.com. This could be the best deal going!

Good luck

02-13-00, 10:03 PM

Thanks for all the info! I never realized that the PS series was an "entry level product." I guess I have memories of my dad's old AR bookshelf units -- definitely NOT entry level stuff and sounded outrageously good -- at least to my ears at the time. And perhaps I've been swayed by the many great reviews the
318PS and 328PS speakers have gotten on audioreview.com (e.g. many people calling the
328PS the best speakers available for under $1000).

But could you amplify on your observations at all? For instance (and please excuse my
ignorance here), what makes a polycarb tweeter inherently inferior to a dome tweeter? And
what do the Infinity's or JBL's (or Pioneer's, for that matter) have to recommend them, say,
over the AR's?

Anyway, just trying to educate myself as much as possible before my purchase ...

Thanks again for all your help!

02-14-00, 12:30 PM
Sent you an email

M i c h a e l
02-14-00, 05:03 PM
One thing to keep in mind with audioreview.com,
is that the "reviewers" are the people who
own the products they are recommending. A
bit of a conflict of interest. http://talk.dvdtalk.com/ubb/wink.gif

So, John Smith, who just bought some really
bad-sounding Pioneer speakers, will give them
5 stars. You have to really take the reviews
there with a grain of salt.

Go to http://www.deja.com/ and do a search,
you'll find a more balanced set of opinions
in rec.audio.opinion because everyone will
say "the Pioneers sound really bad".

Along these lines, I must have made 5 posts
to recommend Paradigm stuff in the past
few days. I don't do this because I own
Paradigm stuff, I don't, I do it because they
offer the most bang for the buck in modest
HT systems, IMHO.

Do some research, don't be in a rush to buy
a system that you will regret having later,
or that cannot be upgraded (e.g., Take 5).

Good luck!

[This message has been edited by M i c h a e l (edited February 14, 2000).]

02-15-00, 01:38 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tworischeck:
I got the Sony SS-CR490 center/surround package for $130. It compliments a pair of front speakers to give you five channels.

May I ask you where you got this package for US$130? Thanks!

02-15-00, 05:47 PM

I would just like to add that I agree with Michael. A few months back I was in the same situation as you. (Need to upgrade for Home Theater vs Limited Budget) I checked out some of the Package Systems (Mirage AVS5000, Energy Take 5, etc.) and they all were fairly decent for home theater. But if you plan to use these speakers for music, then you may be disappointed.

I decided to check out the Paradigms from suggestions on the DVDTALK forum pages. I opted for the Mini-Monitors and CC-350.

I haven't regretted my decision once. I use the mini-monitors for fronts, cc-350 center, and old full range bookshelves for surrounds. I eventually plan on getting the PS1000 sub and a better pair of surrounds once I start my "real" job. (Student at UMASS, graduate this May) But for the time being, the bass response on the mini-monitors has been very surprising. All this with a limited Receiver (also plan to upgrade, once the money comes in)

Now I have a great setup for both home theater and music and it didn't cost me more than I was willing to spend.

In the near future when I am financially healthy (read: credit cards paid off) I plan on upgrading the fronts (Paradigm Monitor 9's?) moving the mini-monitors to the rear, etc.

So to summarize...I agree with Michael http://talk.dvdtalk.com/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Gilgamesh (edited February 15, 2000).]

02-16-00, 03:58 PM
Etown equates the Pioneer to the Paradigms:

M i c h a e l
04-05-00, 08:16 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bfrank:
Etown equates the Pioneer to the Paradigms:
http://www.etown.com/categories/product_review.jhtml?bodyinclude=product_review& productID=2911 (http://www.etown.com/categories/product_review.jhtml?bodyinclude=product_review&productID=2911)

Not sure you you arrived at that, whenever
they made a comparison to the low-end
Atoms, the Paradigms came out on
top, for less.

"the [$199] S-DF1-K falls short of
the performance achieved by the KSB 1.1 and
Paradigm's $179/pair list Atom."

"The S-DF1-K is competitive with the best
speakers in its price range, although I'd
prefer the Paradigm Atom's performance

And the Mini-Monitors are in a whole
other league for a few bucks more.

Just wanted to clarify.

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04-06-00, 01:19 PM
I heard that you can't buy Paradigm speakers from a online dealer, is this true? If no, where could I order from a online dealer? Thanks!

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