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Which of these is the best choice FOR ME?

  • MartinLogan MLT-2 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System - $299

    Votes: 6 54.5%
  • Pioneer SP-PK21BS 5.1 system w/ BS21's for L/R - $300

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Pioneer SP-PK21BS 5.1 system w/ BS41's for L/R - $320

    Votes: 5 45.5%
  • Energy Take Classic 5.1 system w/ Energy ESW-8 sub - Probably mid $300's or more

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Energy Take Classic 5.1 system w/ Dayton SUB-100 - $248

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Energy Take Classic 5.1 system w/ Dayton SUB-120 - $274

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay. We discussed my system in general in this thread, and after much advice and consideration of my specific circumstances, I have narrowed it down to 3 different 5.1 systems (with a couple variations of them). Please vote and/or comment on which of these you think is the best option. I understand that you might prefer to spend this amount of money in a completely different way (2.1 system, etc), but please give me feedback about which of the specific options listed you think is best for me and maybe why you think so. Thanks guys. You have already been very helpful.

Note: The last option should say SUB-120, not 125. Idk how to edit the options' text now that I posted the poll.

Edit: I hope posting about another thread like this is okay
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's more details about the options:

Okay guys, I know I've probably driven you crazy so far, but one last speaker question and then I'll make my decision and then start annoying you about AVRs. I have definitely narrowed it down to 3 different, similarly priced speaker packages, and each having possible pro's and con's. I need your input within the next day or so and in order to make my final speaker decision. Here's the options (Not necessarily in any particular order):

Option A:
  • MartinLogan MLT-2 5.1CH Home Theater Speaker System
  • Here it is
  • $299 on Newegg until 10/26 (Normally $499)
  • Pro's: Seems like a steal compared to the normal price. Larger system. Easily wall-mountable w/o extra hardware (also, don't appear to have rear bass ports). The ML name and reputation(?)
  • Con's: Sounds too good to be true (why sell a $1000 MSRP set for $299?). A fair number of Newegg customers complained of long-term reliability issues and received damaged products due to poor manufacturer packaging. There was talk of these not being true ML quality, but poor quality Chinese builds backed by the ML name. Basically I'm concerned that this speaker set doesn't live up to ML's reputation.
  • In spite of my concerns, I know that even the best products will get poor customer reviews, and that a few poor reviews always get more attention than many good reviews.

Option B:
  • Pioneer SP-PK21BS 5.1 system (Would have to piece together the set. Can't find the whole package together, but that's okay)
  • Very highly regarded by CNET - Take a second to skim the review
  • Could build it using either the smaller, reviewed SP-BS21-LR speakers in the front, or the larger SP-BS41-LR's up front and the SP-BS21-LR for the surrounds
  • The center channel is the SP-C21, and the surround is the SW-8.
  • Price if using 4 of the smaller SP-BS21-LR's = $299.50
  • Price if using 2 of the larger SP-BS41-LR's = $319.50
  • Pro's: Very good reviews on CNET. Fairly well-respected brand. Decent price and easy to find the various speakers online.
  • Con's: Pretty big (not necessarily a con, but...). Not easy/possible to mount, and if I wanted to mount on a wall, may block rear bass ports. Smaller speakers and sub than the ML system (But the SP-PK41's are bigger than the ML surrounds).
  • I like these a lot, but I wonder if the ML system is a better deal. Also, the whole mounting issue would be a little annoying.

Option C:
  • Energy Take Classic 5.1 system (Will probably have to buy the 5.0 system and the sub seprately.)
  • The 5.0 system is on sale for $150 on Newegg until 10/26 (Normally $200)
  • Would have to add the highly-touted Energy ESW-8 200W 8" sub (kind of pricey/hard to find) or a different sub.
  • Could add the previously recommended Dayton sub for $98 (10” 125W SUB-100) or $124 (12” 150W SUB-120)
  • Total price would be $250-$300+, depending on the sub I used.
  • Pro's: Very highly regarded on CNET (This review talks about these two sets. Editor's pick 2011). Small, stylish system. Easy to mount. Might be the best of both worlds - Definitely are considered good quality, and are smaller and easier to mount than the Pioneer set.
  • Con's: Although the sound is great for a small set, it can't keep up with larger speakers at high volume (I don't anticipate being extremely concerned about high volume, but you never know and it plays into the decision). The matching sub is hard to find at a good price, and I'm unsure how well a different sub will match with the set (CNET attributes the set's great sound mostly to the ESW-8 sub and how well it's matched to the speakers). These also have rear bass ports, so wall-mounting might affect the SQ a bit.
  • I'm not sure what to think of this option. The look, mounting convenience, and price are a plus, but Idk if it's worth sacrificing a little SQ, or if it would even be a noticeable SQ difference for my purposes.


Please take just minute to read this and tell me which option of the 3 you would go with if you were in my shoes and maybe a sentence or two why. I would really appreciate it.
 

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I vote for Option 1 only because of the big discount. none of the other speaker packages have a good a sub with them and thats where a big part of the dynamics for movies come into play.

My only concern is what are you going to use to power the speakers, did you decide on a receiver?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My only concern is what are you going to use to power the speakers, did you decide on a receiver?
I'm kind of leaning toward the Onkyo HT-RC360 right now. I'm sure it can handle any of those speaker systems, right? I'm just not sure if it's the best match for my speakers and projector, or if there is a cheaper option that will perform just as well with my lower-tear equipment. It might be overkill for my stuff. But I figured I would pick the speakers and then figure all that out. Although I know the AVR is the heart of the rig, it seems like deciding on a speaker setup is a little tougher at my budget level. There are so many options.
 

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Try not to get to caught up i the numbers and specifications, its not easy on a small budget and i understand. the onkyo will do just fin. If you can push that budget for the receiver about $50 the Onkyo 609 gives you alot more including Audyssey auto room EQ and THX certification meaning some very useful processing modes.
 

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Try not to get to caught up i the numbers and specifications, its not easy on a small budget and i understand. the onkyo will do just fin. If you can push that budget for the receiver about $50 the Onkyo 609 gives you alot more including Audyssey auto room EQ and THX certification meaning some very useful processing modes.
^^^ +1
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Try not to get to caught up i the numbers and specifications, its not easy on a small budget and i understand. the onkyo will do just fin. If you can push that budget for the receiver about $50 the Onkyo 609 gives you alot more including Audyssey auto room EQ and THX certification meaning some very useful processing modes.
...Oh. I compared them and I failed to notice the THX cert. Really, I put all the listed specs and features in side-by-side windows and I didn't really see any differences. I was having trouble understanding what separated the two. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't they both feature the Audyssey EQ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
:sad: 39 views and 2 different members responding, but only one vote so far. :foottap: Come on guys, each of those options involve Newegg promos that only last until the 26th (Friday!) :help:
 

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I would agree that going with the 609 would be a wise choice and it's not that far outside of your budget. I'm not personally a big fan of HTIB regardless of the brand name but if that's the route you've chosen then so be it. I would strongly suggest the option Jack provided earlier with the SVS package. You would be much happier in the long run. That's my vote.
 

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:sad: 39 views and 2 different members responding, but only one vote so far. :foottap: Come on guys, each of those options involve Newegg promos that only last until the 26th (Friday!) :help:
I do not put a lot of weight in CNET or Amazon reviews. I like to eat
the fish and spit out the bones.

The Martin Logan is pretty much Paradigm >> however that is a small
center speaker, and also has been stated more than once, that it does
not blend real well with the front channels. The positive side, it has a
somewhat bigger sub. The Pioneer sub does not have a lot of high SPL
however, it has been measured down to 29hz.

My choice is the Pioneer with the BS41 bookshelf speakers, and it has a
good center channel speaker >> The BS41 will have nice bass for its size.
You can always save for a bigger subwoofer >> and use the Pioneer sub
for now.

The Energy set looks like it will do pretty good in a walk-in closet. Small
speakers can sound nice - however, the sound will still be small.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
...The Pioneer sub does not have a lot of high SPL
however, it has been measured down to 29hz.

My choice is the Pioneer with the BS41 bookshelf speakers, and it has a
good center channel speaker >> The BS41 will have nice bass for its size.
You can always save for a bigger subwoofer >> and use the Pioneer sub
for now.
What about using one of the Dayton subs with the Pioneer set instead of the matching Pioneer sub? I would be buying the sub separately either way and they are pretty much the same price. Would one of the previously mentioned Dayton subs match well with that system? Also, that wouldn't pose a connection issue, right?
 

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What about using one of the Dayton subs with the Pioneer set instead of the matching Pioneer sub? I would be buying the sub separately either way and they are pretty much the same price. Would one of the previously mentioned Dayton subs match well with that system? Also, that wouldn't pose a connection issue, right?
I have not listened to the Dayton sub - and I do not get excited over
Parts Express online reviews. However, I expect them to sound a little
better than some old RadioShack subwoofers. At the price, it can not
hurt to try > if you buy one, then get the 12 inch one. Hook-up should
not be a problem.
 

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I'd go option 1 or 2. Based on your concerns about reliability, probably 2 first.... Go as big as possible.

I would, personally, avoid 3. I've heard heard that set-up and it I thought it sounded, well, pretty bad.
 

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... don't [the 309 and 609] both feature the Audyssey EQ?
I searched the manual for the 309 and there's no mention of Audyssey. I agree with the previous comments that the 609 is worth the extra money if you can afford it.

Re. the 5.1 system: My vote goes to the "Pioneer SP-PK21BS 5.1 system w/ BS41's for L/R".

I don't think any of the subs listed will be particularly impressive, but as long as your AVR and speakers are decent, at least you'll only need to replace/upgrade one item in your set-up. :)
 

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I'm concurring with the Pioneer rig, also with the larger front speakers. You gain an extra decibel of sensitivity plus higher power handling for only $20, that's an easy choice. Stereophile magazine rated those exact speakers and said that despite the low price there were no compromises made in the sound quality - they are 'a faithful transducer of music' so long as you don't expect them to break the laws of physics. That's an enormously strong recommendation from that venerable periodical.

I gave the 2012 version a try, bringing home a pair of the bookshelf models and I found them to be profoundly good for the money. Transparency is the key word. From what I have heard, the SQ is very similar but the newer models are more efficient. The efficiency boost was easy to confirm, the new models have a 2-3db advantage on the old ones.
 

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...Oh. I compared them and I failed to notice the THX cert. Really, I put all the listed specs and features in side-by-side windows and I didn't really see any differences. I was having trouble understanding what separated the two. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't they both feature the Audyssey EQ?
Of the two only the 609 has Audyssey EQ2. Like I said earlier, THX certification gives you some very useful processing modes that are not useless like many that come with receivers these days. The 609 also has a little more power and if I remember right more HDMI inputs.
 

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I am not completely sure why the need for an additional thread about the same questions. The Primus P363 from Fry's that Jerry pointed out would be absurdly better than using a HTIB. However, it seems like it is 5.1 or bust.

Especially when using a Front Projector Setup, to consider using HTIB's like the Energy Take 5 is really going to be pretty underwhelming. At $220, the P363's are simply fantastic and will provide quality bass. I wish you well in your decision and hope it provides you with years of enjoyment.
 

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I'll chime in and say I concur. With HTIB you flirt with 'buy cheap, buy twice' whereas investing in a good pair of mains is a great starting point one can build off of. The effect you can achieve with just a pair of decent speakers should not be underestimated. Well-positioned, high quality mains can/do produce a convincing 3D soundfield and are a perfectly legitimate way to watch movies.

I am not completely sure why the need for an additional thread about the same questions. The Primus P363 from Fry's that Jerry pointed out would be absurdly better than using a HTIB. However, it seems like it is 5.1 or bust.

Especially when using a Front Projector Setup, to consider using HTIB's like the Energy Take 5 is really going to be pretty underwhelming. At $220, the P363's are simply fantastic and will provide quality bass. I wish you well in your decision and hope it provides you with years of enjoyment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I searched the manual for the 309 and there's no mention of Audyssey. I agree with the previous comments that the 609 is worth the extra money if you can afford it.

Re. the 5.1 system: My vote goes to the "Pioneer SP-PK21BS 5.1 system w/ BS41's for L/R".

I don't think any of the subs listed will be particularly impressive, but as long as your AVR and speakers are decent, at least you'll only need to replace/upgrade one item in your set-up. :)
I misspoke. I meant the 360, not the 309. I thought the 360 had Audyssey.
 

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I misspoke. I meant the 360, not the 309. I thought the 360 had Audyssey.
Yes, according to the owner's manual the 360 has Audyssey's:
- basic 2EQ auto-EQ solution (performs basic auto-calibration functions);
- Dynamic EQ (adjusts equalization based on volume); and
- Dynamic Volume (minimizes volume variations within a given audio stream or when switching between different audio streams).
 
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