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Choosing Speakers Argon VS Onkyo VS KEF

by tridy_net / September 10, 2008 12:07 AM PDT

Hello, everyone.

Here are a couple of questions that I have.

1) I am planning to purchase a speakers set for my guest room (home cinema, and maybe XBox or PS3 later) which not that big and here are three options I am considering:

argon 7000 (5.1 system)

onkyo HT-S990THX (7.1 system)

KEF KHT3005SE (5.1 system)

Could someone tell what would be the best choice in this case? I mean quality wise.

2) Does anyone benefit from having 7.1 system against 5.1 system? Since most of the audio sources (except for games) will have 5.1 sound, what would be the reason for buying 7.1 speakers.

3) Argon will require to purchase an amplifier separately. Is there a resource on the web that would help in choosing an amplifier. Since the speakers power varies from system to system, how do you choose an amplifier and then if it is a bit too strong how to you make sure it does not kill the speakers.

Thanks a lot for your answers!

have a good day.

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Apparently you are European whereas most of us are in the
by NM_Bill / September 10, 2008 2:29 AM PDT

USA. So we are not familiar with the Argon except as an industrial gas. And, we don't know what is available to you, where ever you are located. Basics remain basics, however.

True, there is considerably more source material of entertainment that comes with 5.1 sound than 7.1. Some folks are considerable surround sound/home theater fans. (Not me, so much.) Yes, a 7.1 setup simply had an extra pair of surround speakers, usually placed to the rear. Yes, I have rudimentary surround, 5.1 for my great room with big screen TV. I needed to compromise about space for speakers, etc. but am firm that my great room is primarily to be maintained as a living room & not become less comfortable furniture like than necessary. It is NOT primarily a dedicated home theater. I do get benefit of basic surround for the total experience without losing a room in which to live. 5.1 is plenty for me, as I also have the center channel & sub woofer. In the end, always an individual decision.

I would be prone to lean towards the KEF setup.

About receiver & speaker power numbers: Don't get caught up in confusion. Speakers are often labeled as to the maximum wattage they can handle. That would be a maximum volume. High power output by amplifiers does not kill speakers. If anything, insufficient power does. When insufficient, maximum stress occurs, distortion is maximized, perhaps destructively. In addition, power hungry speakers, (but because of imposing a difficult load due to low impedance like 3 or 4 ohms, ) stress underpowered amps to the point of their distortion, too.

Don't worry about an amp being high powered. That is just capacity, not the norm.

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thanks from Europe :)
by tridy_net / September 10, 2008 5:15 AM PDT

Thanks for the answers. I was leaning towards KEF since it has a good balance between size and quality (although pretty expensive) and has built in (into the sub-woofer) amplifier. The only thing that I am worried about is the stands for the rear speakers since they are almost 200$ per pair. Well, what can you do.

And a couple more questions:

1. I am planning to put some furniture under TV and I will not able to place the sub-woofer under the TV (between the left and right speakers) on the floor. Is it ok to put the sub-woofer inside the furniture? It is going to be a cube with open front, so the sub-woofer will fit there size wise.

2. Is it better to place the front center speaker under the tv or over the tv? The center of the TV is on the same level as the eyes when you watch it.

thanks again.

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There are always personal concerns that usually involve
by NM_Bill / September 10, 2008 7:00 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks from Europe :)

cost. Speakers are best used trying to have the all projecting at your ear level (except the sub woofer, which basically can't. I always felt speakers that need stands ought to include the stands in there base cost.

As a generalization, the lowest frequency sounds in the bass range are considerably less direction oriented compared with the highly directional highs from the tweeter. Get the sub woofer close to the screen i you can. A little compromise is okay.

Center channel deserves as decent proximity to the screen as is practical, whether over or under. Its purpose is the anchor the dialog tightly to the screen so most sounds will seem to emanate from the actors.

I have been at this as a serious hobby for 45 years or so, & I still am dealing with a couple of compromises. I wired my surround speakers up the wall, across the room & mounted at a downslope from close to the ceiling. In the past, I simply set a pair of surround speakers on end tables. They may have been a bit goofy looking, but it didn't bother me.

For me, my most important sound reproduction is good old fashioned stereo. My current & final speakers are B&W 804s that list for $4000 per pair. I drive them dual channeled with 220 watts per channel with a receiver that lists for $4000. Yes, over kill & I recognize the small room I use them in (10x12x9) does not allow their full potential.

Remember, despite the concerns, this whole process is supposed to help you get enjoyment to enhance the whole A/V experience. Keep it fun.

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I didnt; read this thread too carefully
by jostenmeat / September 10, 2008 10:45 AM PDT

but here goes and please forgive me for any misunderstanding. take whatever is helpful, and ignore the rest. the onkyo set is very high value, esp if had for $600 or so as has passed. they are not very sexy though,

7.1 usage is a function of how much space you have behind listener. that being said, space behind listener is desirable anyways. for best acoustics, 38% of room length from wall, you will not suffer muddy bass by having ears next to wall, and you will avoid audio "smearing" with such early reflections from the rear wall boundary

sub in the enclosed furniture sounds like a bad idea. in fact you should "crawl for bass" to find the best position. my personal tastes are to avoid corner positioning at all costs.

must you use furniture in the front? here is what i said very recently here (and in your case, bookshelves are just as good as "towers"):

The best is three towers in the front. Very few do this. I've been ranting and raving for a long time about this. Even a few times just this past week at Audioholics, where I have a 1000 posts, or at AVS where I also have a 1000 posts.

Now, if you have a large DLP sitting on an AV rack, you can't, understood. If you have a flat panel mounted on the wall a few feet high, you absolutely can, and IMO absolutely should.

get a modular rack for $200, and put it anywhere you want, just not up front. Even the closet if you want. A URC (extremely reputable) RF-20 remote + blaster is only $75 last I checked.

By having the identical tower, you will be:

- perfectly matched as matched can be, in all speaker characteristics
- even plane of tweeters/drivers for perfect and even panning
- completely bypass horizontal lobing issues inherent in a horiz mtm design, which usually means a sweetspot at less than 20 degrees. (towers are roughly at 60 deg). Also, the horiz cabinet means vertical dispersion as opposed to horiz dispersion. Sound likes to travel along the path of least resistance (smallest dimension), so to speak.

If it indeed must be horizontal, the best designs will be such as top mounted tweeter (ie B&W), WTMW (ie Revel, AV123), or coincidental (KEF).

Now, if you have only one loveseat, for 1-2 viewers, not as big of a deal, assuming you sit straight on. If you have more than one couch, my suggestions just only regarding center design will benefit you greatly.

Let alone the matching and pans. Oh, you also gain better video immersion since you don't have lights up front anymore.

I've talked about this 100 times at this forum alone.

if you can't, you can't. if going horiz, higher is typically better, but its always particular to setup. as having all tweeters closer to the same plane is usually desired, as you can see it depends. Also, if you have more than one row of seating like i do, higher is definitely better to fire over blocking heads and bodies.

hope this helps, and gl

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by tridy_net / September 10, 2008 6:00 PM PDT

thanks for the comments.

I thought that sub isn't that great when it is inside something, so I should look for a better solution.

A universal remote control is a great idea, since I will be using TV, DVD, Satellite, later on BR or maybe a gaming console with BR later on. Having 2 remote controls is a bit too much, but 3 is a disaster. If I just will be able to get this model in Sweden.

For now I have decided to mount the side speakers on the side of TV and the front one mount above the TV and hide the cables inside the wall. The wires for the back speakers will go under the floor as well, so I pretty much have the plan now.

thanks for the info

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