Are Higher End Towers Worth it for HT?

Discussion in 'Loudspeakers' started by Mr._Clark, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Mr._Clark Audioholic Intern

    Mr._Clark
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    I realize this is a highly subjective question, but I'm curious what people think.

    I have two HT systems (a 5.1 and a 5.2). One has Aperion L6-IW in wall main speakers (with L6-IC ceiling speakers) and the other has Aperion Verus Grand towers (and Grand bookshelf surrounds). The in-walls are OK, but the Grand towers definitely pick up more detail in some movies. For me, this level of difference probably makes the more expensive Grands worth it (unfortunately, towers really don't fit in the room with the in-wall speakers).

    I'm not sure if upgrading above the Grand Towers is worth it for HT, however? (I'm not a zillionaire by any stretch of the imagination, but I could probably spend $8,000 or so without getting into seriously hot water with the wifey).

    The Salk SoundScape 8s (for example) appear to be outstanding speakers (I have not actually heard them yet). I can understand why exceptionally accurate speakers can be worth it if one wants to hear the nuances of, say, I live piano performance by an exceptional artist. But, for movies, so much of the sound is just special effects I find myself wondering if great speakers are worth it? If the sound of some guy getting wacked in a movie with a baseball bat is really just a recording of someone wacking a rib roast in a studio, how much difference does it make if one accurately hears the rib roast?

    Once again, I realize the answer to "is it worth it?" is subjective, and I'll ultimately need to listen to some speakers and decide for myself. Nevertheless, I'm curious what people's thoughts are on this?
  2. Bucknekked Audioholic Chief

    Bucknekked
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    This question only has subjective answers from top to bottom since the nature of what you're asking for isn't based on performance but perception.
    Salk Soundscape 8's are a top of the foodchain type speaker for many of us. If you can afford them, you can't go wrong with them

    If you've got $8,000 that isn't busy, you could always get the Soundscapes and send them to me to evaluate for you for a year or so. After a year, I could tell you whether or not they are worth it or not. I am expecting a pair of Salk Songtowers to arrive in April so I'd have to work the Soundscapes in to the schedule.

    Good speakers : you can't go wrong. Its the best place to put audio dollars in my simple opinion
  3. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    I think Salk Soundscapes would be wasted if all you are going to use them for is effects-driven movies.
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  4. William Lemmerhirt Audioholic General

    William Lemmerhirt
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    Maybe, maybe not. There's also plenty of music in movies too. Wasted? Depends on your perception of value vs disposal income. If I had the budget, I would do it. Like buck said, speakers are the best place to put your money. You can't take diminishing returns off the table but I feel like you're good.
  5. Irvrobinson Audioholic Ninja

    Irvrobinson
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    As someone who uses Klipsch RF62iis for a dedicated HT system, which are colored compared to something like the Salks (and I paid $600 for the pair brand new), I've got to agree. I'm constantly looking for a reason to replace the Klipschs with something more in my high-end style, but every time we listen I'm still amazed by how we much we like them. There is nothing in modern movie sound that isn't manipulated for greater effect or intelligibility, and their target environment is a movie theater. Even watching Law and Order reruns benefits from a bit of added presence that I'd never tolerate in a system that plays mostly acoustic music.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  6. AcuDefTechGuy Seriously, I have no life.

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    Unless there is something deficient with your current speakers (Center speaker dialogue sound weak), I don't think it is worth the money to upgrade your main HT speakers or to add any more speakers beyond 5 speakers (just in case that crossed your mind :D).

    The salient HT speaker is the Center speaker for strong crystal clear dynamic dialogue.
  7. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    Music or movies doesn't matter, good speakers are good speakers IMHO. I pick my speakers based on music capabilities and pretty much never audition with movies. A system that can do music well will still rarely (if ever) not do well with movies.

    For HT however, I would tend to say spend more on the sub and go with a higher spec bookshelf vs. tower, since the sub is a big aspect of HT. If you will do 50/50 music to movies, then a tower may be better.
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  8. William Lemmerhirt Audioholic General

    William Lemmerhirt
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  9. slipperybidness Audioholic Spartan

    slipperybidness
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    I tend to agree here.

    As far as great towers being a "waste" for HT duty.......I would use the analogy of using your Porsche as your grocery getter. Sure, it will get the job done and put a smile on your face doing it, but perhaps it's a bit excessive to fit the task at hand.

    That being said, I've always been a music-first type, so even my HT is built around good music as the priority.
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  10. William Lemmerhirt Audioholic General

    William Lemmerhirt
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    Who cares where you're going! Take the Porsche.
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  11. Irvrobinson Audioholic Ninja

    Irvrobinson
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    As a Porsche sports car owner (I assume you're not talking about the Cayenne or the Macan), I can say they are perfectly practical for grocery getting. Three paper grocery bags fit nicely in the front trunk, and more in the back seat of a 911, or the rear trunk of a Boxster or Cayman. I just park far away from "the action", to avoid getting shopping cart dings in the delicate doors.

    The analogous question is for this thread, would you buy a Cayman S (probably the sports car equivalent of an SS8) *just* to go to the supermarket? I wouldn't. Originally, I almost ordered Philharmonic 3s for my HT system, and they probably would have sounded really great, and just this past weekend I was tempted to make that swap, but I just can't find any faults with the cheap Klipschs for stereo HT use in a 16x14 room, and I don't use a sub either (the Klipschs are surprisingly strong to about 32Hz). Maybe if I watched Olympus has Fallen more often...
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  12. Klipschhead302 Senior Audioholic

    Klipschhead302
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    I bought the RF-82's because they were new old stock in the box and got two for the price of one sight unseen praying they sounded good. For music, well, great recordings sound great, bad ones they are unforgiving with but in HT they sound spectacular for music in surround like DTS etc...

    When the RF-7 III's come out I am going to audition them before buying but I think they'll sound fantastic for my needs.
  13. Mr._Clark Audioholic Intern

    Mr._Clark
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    Thanks for the responses, interesting discussion.

    A while back I watched the Skynet Nuclear Explosion scene near the end of Terminator Salvation on the 2 systems I have right now back to back (both systems have Marantz SR6006 receivers and Oppo BDP-103s). The towers and bookshelf speakers produced a noticeably more detailed sound including relatively soft/minor sounds. Since then, I've noticed this (differences in sound detail) in other movies as well.

    If I didn't have the tower/bookshelf system for comparison, I probably would not have known I was missing anything. This made me wonder if I'm still missing things even with the towers. It's a known unknown of sorts unless I test drive some other speakers.

    For what it's worth, I have a pair of SVS PC12 NSDs paired with the in-wall system, and a single SVS PB13 ultra in the tower/bookshelf system. Between the two, I prefer the bass from the pair of PC12 NSDs because it's a much more immersive effect. That surprised me at first because I'd read so often that low frequency sound is largely non-directional.

    Once again, thanks for the responses.
  14. JRT3 Junior Audioholic

    JRT3
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    I settled on decidedly different HT and stereo (music only) systems. For HT, I removed the four Infinity P163's from the bookshelves and replaced them with four P363's, keeping the old Klipsch KV-2 CC and Polk PSW-505 sub. The CC wasn't right - I bought another P363 as CC on one side of the 55" monitor - my CFO said it looked unsymmetrical - another one on the opposite side would look better - and require removing the 'ugly black box', the Polk sub, so I got another P363. At $107 shipped, it was my most expensive one! The twelve 6.5" LF drivers put out enough bottom end effects for me (I still tend to duck when cannon balls whiz overhead in "Master and Commander" - and "Star Wars" never sounded so good!). Dialogue sounds spacious, too. I suppose it's a Surround 5.0* system, where the * means it has dual CC speakers - which don't sound as though the predicted interference is a problem!

    For music, I have my office stereo: an Onkyo C-7030 driving a 50Wpc Emotiva A-100 BasX amp, which has a volume control and headphone jack and drives a pair of '77-vintage Klipsch Heresy's out from the 11ft wall's corners in my 11 ft x 12 ft x 9ft carpeted office. It's the best sounding stereo I've ever owned. I am listening to my over three decade old copy of Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" CD - and it sounds great - plenty of bottom end - great mids and top end - and dynamic range. The Heresy's are efficient - a 7W SET amp would drive them fine (I love my little Emotiva amps!). The same CD on my HT (Onkyo TX-SR505), set for stereo and played over a Sony BRD player can't compare!

    I think that different missions do require optimized equipment! Further, you can get by for less if you demand audiophile quality equipment for your passion genres, be they music, HT, or, I suppose, both.
    JRT3,
  15. AcuDefTechGuy Seriously, I have no life.

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    You are probably the exception. I've tried dual VERTICAL Center MTM speakers. It didn't sound as good as a SINGLE vertical center.
  16. Darenwh Enthusiast

    Darenwh
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    But, But... Why would I take the Lambo to get food when I have the beater Porsche sitting in the garage?:confused:
  17. Bucknekked Audioholic Chief

    Bucknekked
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    Theres a guy in my neighborhood who owns a yellow Lambo. He drives it to get groceries. I could ask him why if I could catch him.:)
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
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  18. 3db Audioholic Overlord

    3db
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    +1 to what j_garcia said. I picked my PSB towers because they excelled in 2 channel music reproduction so I knew that the same level of performance would result for HT use. The towers play double duty in my main system.
    3db,
  19. AcuDefTechGuy Seriously, I have no life.

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    Well, my towers are $6K each x 5 towers. So I think it's worth the money for HT & music. :D

    But for most people who already have good speakers (the OP has Aperion Grand Towers $2,300/pr), it may not be worth the money depending on the new speakers.
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  20. 2channel lover Audioholic

    2channel lover
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    Subjective is absolutely paramount here.

    From a person who is buying a LCR trio from Salk Sound (Song3-A L/R) as part of a music/HT build, I think Soundscape 8s are probably overkill unless you have a very large HT space.

    1...it sounds like you have subs, or will have them if this is a legit HT system so you don't really need to pay for the bottom end of the 8s.

    2...You could spend half of your $8k budget on a LCR setup and have a great sounding HT with Salk.

    Now...if you were going to have some 2 channel listening as well and you just wanted a kick ass pair of speakers...the 8s is not a bad choice, but I would still consider his new speaker Song3 Encore.

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