Re: Big Outlay Planned - Lessons Learned - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #11 of 14 Old 08-11-12, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Panama City Fl
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Re: Big Outlay Planned - Lessons Learned

Very interesting read and impressive observations cinco

Ive found that outboard amps give my speakers more grunt and theyre more snappy. This has applied to any speaker Ive owned even if they werent considered hard to drive. The improvement applies especially in bottom end and especially for increased music performance. As a personal example, I adore the experience of multi-channel music with my 60 pound Sherwood receiver but I know for a fact that it would never be the same experience without the dedicated 90 pound Emotiva amp providing the power for that experience. That having been said would I get a lesser speaker, that I didnt love as much, so I could afford an external amp? Absolutely not! Get the speakers you like and if budget permits thereafter I highly recommend you at least try an amp.

Again, great observations and thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
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post #12 of 14 Old 08-14-12, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 5
Re: Big Outlay Planned - Lessons Learned

Okay, so I gave in to temptation and made my way to the 2nd dealer with the Paradigm setup. While he was setting things up, he had me keep entertained by listening to a pair of Sonus Toy Towers. I've got to admit, had never heard of this brand before and was completely taken by surprise. For the first time, I experienced imagining to the point where I swore there was a center channel playing during the 2-ch demo - even with my eyes open. The sound was incredibly detailed and clear. It was actually pretty amazing.

Next he did A/B with the Studio 100s against the PSB Imagines. Again, I found the Studio's bright, and this was in a room with heavy treatments. Still, I preferred the Studio's to the Imagines, which I found a bit quiet on the highs and a bit boomy on the lows. So next, we did an A/B with the Studio's vs the Toys. The Toys easily won out, and I was surprised at how being such a small speaker, seemed to fill the room better than the Studio's. I could really see myself exploring my CD collection with these more than I expected with this project.

So great speakers, but to be honest, sounded kind of soft and I'm looking for 90+% HT, right? I voiced this concern, so the dealer dragged all four speakers (mind you, those Studios look heavy!) to the 'theater room'. So the Studio 100s/CC-590 were setup head-to-head against the SF Toy Towers/Center. Looked like David vs Goliath.

Same equipment, same Paradigm sub and surrounds. We watched his scene from Tron and mine from Transformers 3. I was amazed at how powerful these little suckers are! Not to mention the panning and detail beat the Paradigm's hands down. Definitely needs a sub, but that's in the budget anyway.

So, I was hooked. I'm in the process of working up pricing on the Toy Towers/Center and looking for some insight into matching components. Trying to get away with not buying an amp out of the gate, so the dealer recommened either the NAD T-777 or Arcam AVR-360. For surround matches, dealer suggested to go with PSB CW260 since SF doesn't make matching in-wall speakers for the Toy line. Sub recommendation is Paradigm Seismic 110 - the dealer also carries REL, but Paradigm was suggested to bring some more power to the sound.

So I'm curious, why haven't I heard of this brand? I can't find a whole lot in the way of reviews or feedback. Also, any insight on matching equipment, surrounds and sub? This dealer was by far the most impressive I've worked with yet, so I'm tending to trust his input.

In the meantime, I found out the spouse of a co-worker does alarm installs and has a dealer account with a local electronics distributor. He gave me a quote on my Sony HW30 and mounting hardware that about blew me away. The reason I bring this up, is because I can get similar deals on other equipment he has access to, but at this point, I'm getting worn out and just want to install my HT already!

Still, should I consider any of the following:
Towers: Energy, Jamo, Polk
Subs: Energy, Jamo, Proficient, Polk, Sunfire, Velodyne
Screens: Screen Innovations, Vutec
(Screen is still my biggest unknown. For whatever reason, really nervous going to make the wrong choice here. The dealer above recommended Stewart Studio Tec 130 G3.)

You guys have been great, and I just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback and support.
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post #13 of 14 Old 08-15-12, 03:14 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Dallas, TX
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Re: Big Outlay Planned - Lessons Learned

Sonus Faber has been around for a long time, they are not a mass market type speaker, and they can be very expensive if you go up the food chain just a little bit.
Go with the speakers you love and don't look back, if it is the Toy Towers I see nothing wrong with that decision.
I would probably go with a mainstream AVR and if you want to spend a chunk on it something like a Dennon 4311 is very well regarded.
For sub woofers I would go with one of the well established internet direct manufacturers Hsu, SVS, Rythmik all have solid track records and compared to any store brand the performance for the dollar is unmatched. CHT looks like a good up and comer but still a new kid on the block.
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post #14 of 14 Old 08-17-12, 08:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Re: Big Outlay Planned - Lessons Learned

Today I heard Sonus Faber speakers for the first time, I listened to the Cermonia M towers and the Auditor M monitors and I am very impressed.
The sound was very detailed and clear but not harsh at all, and the bass was very substantial.
Very nice sounding speakers and absolutely beautiful to look at.
Anyone in the Dallas TX area should stop by (get ready for this) the Best Buy at Park Ln and 75.
I don't know how long the Magnolia Store been there but they have a real Magnolia Store that is leasing space inside the Best Buy.
The gear they have is not the same as that you will find in the rest of the Best Buys in the area and the staff in this section of the store are not the typical crew you are accustomed to at BB.
Really nice and knowledgeable, real laid back (not pushing a sale) and they like to demo their gear.
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