Best starter/budget towers?

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Dim3nsion

Enthusiast
I've got the Ascends and would suggest their 170SE or Sierra-1 over those (I have all three models). The Sierra-1 is more comparable to the SVS Ultra.
So the 170SE beat out the 200s? The sierras look pretty high end. Still kinda on the fence if I wanna go up to 6-800 or stay around 4-5ish
 
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Dim3nsion

Enthusiast
This article from right here at Audioholics, Gene and Hugo's video below and some input from @KEW is what nudged me in that direction.


They're good speakers at $499 each and they're really good speakers at $399. I was patient and kept an eye on the outlet and I'm glad I did. If there are any marks they post images and point them out like the photo I posted earlier. I have one still that we can't find the mark on it. Full warranty and their Customer Bill of Rights. 45 days to audition and they'll pay the shipping if you decide you don't want them. You're only out for your time.

Marshall reviews the towers here, but talks a little about the bookshelfs. He was impressed with them, stating they were all you need (with a subwoofer).

*However, from a performance standpoint, I think the real star of the show are the Bookshelves. They retained the best of the towers, including composed and natural response even at high volumes, while sacrificing only the lower register in frequency response. Mated with one of SVS's subwoofers, this becomes a non-issue and at $499 each, you have a beautiful looking and performing system. In a multichannel system, if your setup allows for the form factor, I think this is the only speaker you need.

Thanks, I’ll watch this. I know a lot of people think highly of SVS and then others say they’re just overpriced. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions though
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Thanks, I’ll watch this. I know a lot of people think highly of SVS and then others say they’re just overpriced. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions though
I think that their subs are definitely on the expensive side. Aesthetically I think SVS subs look nicer, but you can get similar performance at a better price with companies like RSL or HSU so I leaned that way myself. Loving the Ultras tho. Like I said, get them for $399, not $499. That's where the value really shines with them.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks, I’ll watch this. I know a lot of people think highly of SVS and then others say they’re just overpriced. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions though
Keep in mind, the thing that helps make SVS so popular also costs... their policy of shiipping both ways on a 45-day in home trial and upgrade within a year... Pretty epic... But everybody has to pay to cover that expense. In all though, it seems to work out well, and their product seams to speak for itself!
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
If you are looking at bookshelf speakers in the $300 to $800 range, there are many good choices. The Outlaw BLSv2 is a solid choice. Anything from Hsu, SVS, Ascend, Monoprice Monolith, should all be quite good. Also check out the Paradigm Premier 100B. Offerings from KEF, PSB, Monitor Audio, Infinity Reference, should all be very good.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
So the 170SE beat out the 200s? The sierras look pretty high end. Still kinda on the fence if I wanna go up to 6-800 or stay around 4-5ish
Depends how you use them. I've used the 200SEs as mains a little bit as I had a situation with existing wall mounts so thought I'd try that seeing as they're sealed, but they just weren't enough for that room. I got the Sierra-1s for the front three in that room next and they did much better; the 170SEs are a bit behind the Sierra-1s but more capable than the 200SEs (better frequency response down low, too) but both the 170SE and 200SE only are in surround duties now. The 340SE would be my choice over a 170SE too (but don't own that model).

The JBL 530 might be a consideration, same compression driver as the rest of the Studio 5 series, but in bookshelf form (but haven't used those as mains, just as front wides and now rear surrounds). Sierra-1 has a bamboo cabinet (very solid) and better drivers, just a better speaker.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Depends how you use them. I've used the 200SEs as mains a little bit as I had a situation with existing wall mounts so thought I'd try that seeing as they're sealed, but they just weren't enough for that room. I got the Sierra-1s for the front three in that room next and they did much better; the 170SEs are a bit behind the Sierra-1s but more capable than the 200SEs (better frequency response down low, too) but both the 170SE and 200SE only are in surround duties now. The 340SE would be my choice over a 170SE too (but don't own that model).

The JBL 530 might be a consideration, same compression driver as the rest of the Studio 5 series, but in bookshelf form (but haven't used those as mains, just as front wides and now rear surrounds). Sierra-1 has a bamboo cabinet (very solid) and better drivers, just a better speaker.
The JBL 530s look great, but there don't look like they are coming back in stock until November, and there are so many great choices out there that there is no sense in delaying getting a great system for that long.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
The JBL 530s look great, but there don't look like they are coming back in stock until November, and there are so many great choices out there that there is no sense in delaying getting a great system for that long.
I saw they were available somewhat recently but the availability of the whole series is hit and miss....


Sent from my SM-A505U using Tapatalk
 
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JengaHit

Junior Audioholic
One decision you have to make is: how much do you care about non-primary listening area? It looks like you have one good listening position that is in front of the TV. The seat next to it can get decent imaging if you have controlled directivity speakers i.e., Hsu, Klipsch, or JBL Studio 500s. But at far angles, like way to the right of the seating position, they might not sound like much. A wider dispersion speaker might be able to cover more seating in that room, but you sacrifice imaging entirely for all seating except the primary listening position.
Agree with Shady. I have the Hsu CCB-8s.Their set up is finicky. To sound their best they need breathing room and should be set up close to an equilateral triangle. Mine are 8.5 ft apart, 3 ft from side walls, 3.5 ft from rear wall, and toed in extremely in front of the primary listening spot, which is ~9.5 from speakers (and centered in the width of a 15-ft wide room). This yields a 7-8 ft-wide sweet spot with stable stereo imaging even at the far edges of that superwide sweet spot. But looking at your pics it doesn't look as if you have room for this kind of set up, esp with the TV and short wall/FP squeezed on the right side. Your listeners on the far left, on the short couch, wouldn't get optimal sound. You might be better off with the wide-dispersion speakers Shady and others have recommended.
But I don't have any experience with Hsu's smaller speakers, the HB-1 mk2. Maybe their set-up is less fussy.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Agree with Shady. I have the Hsu CCB-8s.Their set up is finicky. To sound their best they need breathing room and should be set up close to an equilateral triangle. Mine are 8.5 ft apart, 3 ft from side walls, 3.5 ft from rear wall, and toed in extremely in front of the primary listening spot, which is ~9.5 from speakers (and centered in the width of a 15-ft wide room). This yields a 7-8 ft-wide sweet spot with stable stereo imaging even at the far edges of that superwide sweet spot. But looking at your pics it doesn't look as if you have room for this kind of set up, esp with the TV and short wall/FP squeezed on the right side. Your listeners on the far left, on the short couch, wouldn't get optimal sound. You might be better off with the wide-dispersion speakers Shady and others have recommended.
But I don't have any experience with Hsu's smaller speakers, the HB-1 mk2. Maybe their set-up is less fussy.
To be honest, the CCB-8s wouldn't need as much stand-off distance from walls etc as typical speakers. Since their dispersion pattern is narrower, there will not be as much acoustic reflections from side-walls or nearby surfaces. If you want the best sound, however, it does pay to experiment with toe-in, but Hsu's suggestion of a hard toe-in crossing a few feet in front of the listening position would probably be the best in most cases.
 
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JengaHit

Junior Audioholic
To be honest, the CCB-8s wouldn't need as much stand-off distance from walls etc as typical speakers. Since their dispersion pattern is narrower, there will not be as much acoustic reflections from side-walls or nearby surfaces. If you want the best sound, however, it does pay to experiment with toe-in, but Hsu's suggestion of a hard toe-in crossing a few feet in front of the listening position would probably be the best in most cases.
Pulling them out from the back wall reduced upper-bass/lower mid thickness in my room (even after experimenting with the port plugs and my sub's crossover/volume settings). That would be less of a problem if I had an avr and room eq. But I'm running an old-fashioned 2.1 system with a pre-amp that doesn't have bass mgt. Their distance from sidewalls is more a function of getting as close to an equilateral triangle with my sofa seating distance and furniture arrangement, so that the extreme toe-in can conjure that huge sweet spot. The main problem I see with the CCB-8s and his room is the TV being on the right side of that open dining area, and so it looks as if the speakers would have to flank close to the TV, limiting the size of the equilateral triangle. I had to space my speakers apart so that the L/R distance more or less equaled the distance from the L/R speaker plane to the sofa in order to create the magic time-intensity expanded sweet spot.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
The main problem I see with the CCB-8s and his room is the TV being on the right side of that open dining area. It skews everything and that glorious CCB-8 imaging wouldn't be experienced by those to the far left of the fireplace, as you suggest.
People on the far left of the fireplace are not going to get any imaging regardless. Narrow dispersion speakers like the CCB-8s can image a bit outside of a central point, if you use a time-intensity trade type toe-in. Wide dispersion speakers won't even do that much; they couldn't as a consequence of their design. Sometimes I find statements in speaker reviews where the reviewer talks about how speaker X can image outside of a sweet spot, and many times its an easy way to tell that their imagination has run ahead of them. Wide-dispersion speakers, which is like 90% of home audio loudspeakers, don't do that, at least in a stereo pair. The way human hearing localizes sound doesn't work like that.
 
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JengaHit

Junior Audioholic
People on the far left of the fireplace are not going to get any imaging regardless. Narrow dispersion speakers like the CCB-8s can image a bit outside of a central point, if you use a time-intensity trade type toe-in. Wide dispersion speakers won't even do that much; they couldn't as a consequence of their design. Sometimes I find statements in speaker reviews where the reviewer talks about how speaker X can image outside of a sweet spot, and many times its an easy way to tell that their imagination has run ahead of them. Wide-dispersion speakers, which is like 90% of home audio loudspeakers, don't do that, at least in a stereo pair. The way human hearing localizes sound doesn't work like that.
Come to think of it listeners to the left of the fireplace probably won't even care about imaging. They'd probably care more about dialogue intelligibility, so if it were my room it might be more important to figure out how to install a center channel.
 
Shanman

Shanman

Junior Audioholic
I dont not have mich experience with many towers, but I recently sold a hardly played pair of Elac debut 2.0 f6.2's when I stumbled upon a crazy good deal on some Snell towers, sub, and center. I had snagged the f6.2's on Newegg for $299ea shipped which was a very good price. They did need a sub to augment AV use.

I really liked the sound of them, the tweeter specifically was very "open" sounding to me, and the triple 6.5" bass and mid bass drivers had very nice voicing for vocal tracks and jazz. I do also own a set of the Debut 2.0 b6 bookshelf speakers and REALLY like how they sound. An $80 pair of 28" stands for them paired with a sub makes a great music set up.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Use coupon code AVS253 and get a pair of these for $400.
Nothing else can touch them when they are discounted like this!
https://www.harmanaudio.com/R253BK.html

PS-for some reason the default is to send these 2nd day air - which is not cheap.
Just change shipping method to Ground and it is free!
 
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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Use coupon code AVS253 and get a pair of these for $400.
Nothing else can touch them when they are discounted like this!
https://www.harmanaudio.com/R253BK.html

PS-for some reason the default is to send these 2nd day air - which is not cheap.
Just change shipping method to Ground and it is free!
I'm seeing $400 each. Do I need to change the shipping thing or something? Not buying them but I click like, all the links here, lol.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
I'm seeing $400 each. Do I need to change the shipping thing or something? Not buying them but I click like, all the links here, lol.
Add to your cart, go to "view cart details", then hit the "Apply a promo code +" button below total price on right side. Enter "AVS253" and it should show as $200 each!
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Add to your cart, go to "view cart details", then hit the "Apply a promo code +" button below total price on right side. Enter "AVS253" and it should show as $200 each!
The promo code! I knew I was missing something.
 

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