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Thread: 14 x 15.5 room - Speaker recommendations?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Question 14 x 15.5 room - Speaker recommendations?

    I'm in the market for new speakers, and quite a few people on the avsforum are recommending Ascend. I've never heard them, though, and many of the people recommending them don't actually own them, but just say they are significantly better than the others I'm looking at (Polk, mostly.) So, I'd like to hear some recommendations from those that own them. Here's my situation/setup:

    * Just bought a Yamaha RX-V657 AV receiver
    * Use will be 80% HT (DVDs and DirecTV HD), 20% music (CD's, plus MAYBE some MP3...but mostly CD)
    * Room is 15.5 deep by 14 wide, with one side 3/4 open to the adjoining room
    * Rears will likely have to be wall mounted, or sit on the edge of the molding (3/4 way up the wall.) Not much room for floor stands, unless they're small.

    Originally, I was looking at either the Polk 104 system (Front=Monitor 40, rear=Monitor 30, CS1 center, and PSW10 sub), or the Polk R20 satellite system (like the size, particularly for the rears, and since using 80% movies/tv, thought this might be good enough.)

    But, I've had MANY people tell me to step up to the Ascends, with this possible setup:

    Fonts: CBM-170
    Rears: HTM-200
    Center: CMT-340
    Sub: Hsu VTF-2 Mk2

    What I'm afraid of, is that most of the people recommending the Ascend's are mostly listening to music, but also a bit of home theater. How will this Ascend setup perform on home theater vs. the Polk 104 system? Will it be worth the extra $500? (I fully expect it to be much better for music...but that's a small percentage of my use.)

    I don't mind spending the extra money to get significantly better speakers, I just want to make sure they're right for my application, and for my relatively small room...I've also read that the Ascends are very neutral, and reproduce sound very accurately, which can have adverse affects on lower quality sources. I do have most of my CD's ripped to a media server, and am considering streaming them to my system (for ease of use...) This isn't a *requirement*, but if I did this, how bad would the MP3's sound? (They're ripped using EAC/LAME at 192 VBR...)

    Opinions are very much welcome...Fire away!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    My recommendation would be to order the 170's and 340C. Use them for a couple of weeks and then bring in the Polk's if the store has a reasonable return policy. I don't believe it will take you long to come to a decesion.
    I bought my Ascends with a similar intention as you. 80% HT and 20% music. It's now 80% music. Any speaker that can do music well will do HT well. The reverse is not always the case.
    I auditioned a higher end Polk set-up before I got the Ascends. It was no contest to my ears but you need to do the comparison for yourself. It's fun to audition speakers and the (possible) return shipping is well worth it. Even if I had returned the Ascends (over my dead body ), I would have considered myself better off. I couldn't rent speakers this good for a month for the cost of shipping.
    Good luck and let us know what you decide.

    David

  3. #3
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    Aug 2003
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    Just because David beat me to it, and saved me some typing, I would like add that I completely agree with his thinking on this.....as many else would as well.
    -curtis

  4. #4
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    Jul 2005
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    Boston, Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gecko85
    What I'm afraid of, is that most of the people recommending the Ascend's are mostly listening to music, but also a bit of home theater. How will this Ascend setup perform on home theater vs. the Polk 104 system? Will it be worth the extra $500? (I fully expect it to be much better for music...but that's a small percentage of my use.)
    The claim that speakers can be good enough for movies but not for music is highly suspect. After all, movies often contain beautiful musical soundtracks that are vital to the immersive experience of watching the movie.

    Most honest experts in the field of sound reproduction, be it for music or home theater, will tell you that the most important places to spend your money are on: 1) good speakers 2) the acoustics of the room itself, and 3) well recorded/filmed source material,.

    You've come to the right place for good speakers. Audioholics.com has good links to articles about room acoustics so that you can learn how to get the best possible sound out of them. You're on your own when it comes to picking great movies. Enjoy!

  5. #5
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    While it's true that speakers that do music well should do movies well, speakers that are not as astute as Ascends(or insert "Brand-X") at music will most likely be more than adequate for a predominantly HT system.

    My reasoning is this: For music we rely strictly on our sense of hearing, thus a speaker which can better convey the nuances of a musical score will give a more involving, or emotional, presentation.

    With movies, our ears are assisted by our sight, which can "Fill in" the little audio nuances that are missing. We don't focus strictly on the sound.

    JMHO, YMMV!!
    Ed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Thanks for the replies. I'll give the Ascend's a whirl, then bring in the Polks as a test (I can get them at the local Fry's, so returning is easy.)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    SoCal
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    I'm confident the speakers you picked will fill that size room nicely. My room's about that same size. I tried that exact setup, but went bigger (added 340 L/R and pushed everything else back for 7.1 setup; increased VTF2 to VTF3) only because of speaker-envy (plus have plans to move to bigger house and WAF-approval coupon was about to expire too).
    Last edited by BGHD; 08-24-2005 at 03:54 PM.

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