Can I build a home theater with these speakers? (TL;DR included)

S

subwoofer

Audiophyte
Note: Skip down to the bottom for the TL;DR.

Ugh. I have been so busy with exploring my options for at home music listening since covid's 2nd wave is going to eventually keep us indoors for an indefinite amount of time.

Here are the following speakers I have been testing as of Oct 2020:
2 x JBL Studio 530 (keeping, but not my favorite)
2 x ELAC Uni-fi UB5 (keeping)
2 x Klipsch RP-600m (not sure if I'm keeping)
2 x Triangle Borea BR03 (not sure if I'm keeping)
1 x JBL SUB 550P (keeping, but looking to upgrade to a REL sub in the future)

So far I only tested them in my living room and I used my Emotiva preamp and Emotiva A-300 to power them. I also used these speaker cables.

ELAC Uni-fi UB5
For music, the one that I like the most from this list are the ELACs. IMO these are easy listening, relaxing, kinda boring, critical listening type of speakers. They make you focus on the music, not dancing. They even make listening to commercials more tolerable. I wish they were livelier, but I appreciate the clarity and sound signature it offers. I could use these for studying or a similar activity. While not perfect, they make me think of heaven and I wouldn't mind being buried with them as the JBL 3 Series monitor sing for me. I almost like the ELACs as much as my bass heavy and more lively, but hissy JBL 3 Series Mkii monitors. The ELACs sound nice in my living room and I think they would be suitable in my bedroom also. The only annoying issue is that they make my A-300 noisy and the fans come on a lot.

Klipsch RP-600m
I thought that these would be harsh and bright like the B&Ws and KEF speakers I previously auditioned. Surprising, the Klipschs don't really bother my ears at all. In fact, there's many times that I'm thinking, "Where is the horn?" I was also expecting the Klipschs to make me want to dance my *$$ off, but nope. I felt nothing. My gripe is that I'm not fond of Klipsch's dry and mundane sound signature when it comes to music and regular TV. With music, they don't seem to have much of a soul at times.

The best sounding songs (although not perfect) with the Klipsch were these:

They also are not clean like the ELACs. In fact, they sound a little more distorted than the JBL Studio 530s. With music, there is more of an outline and the highs have a bit more bite and definition than the JBL Studios, but the overall Klipsch sound has thin spots at times. Some of the hip hop music sound a little better on the Klipschs than the JBL Studios. The soundstage/imaging is okay, but not as good/smooth as the KEF LS50 (which wasn't amazingly perfect either, just a bit better). The Klipschs are almost fantastic for movies (not TV or anime really, just movies - mainly blockbuster types), but they make the voices/dialogue in movies nearly inaudible.

I tested out movie sounds with these clips:

You can powerfully hear and feel all of the sound effects on the Klipschs, but they almost drown out the dialogue and I don't feel that's ideal. I don't know to fix this. I noticed a similar problem with the JBL Studio 530s to a lesser extent. Both the ELACs and Triangle Boreas (especially) had clearer vocals. For amazing background and sound effects, the Klipsch come 1st, the Triangles come at a very distant 2nd, the JBL Studios come 3rd and the ELAC come 4th. The KEFs and B&W also don't even compare to the Klipschs or even the JBL Studios/Triangles in this regard.

Triangle Borea BR03
I'm a little disappointed in these speakers. I bought these for music listening because many compared it to the ELACs and Klipschs as well as the JBLs and KEFs and stated that it was the best of each speaker, had sparkle, and had something special. I wish that was true because so far I'm not impressed. While Daft Punk and some other dance music sound nice with the Triangles, some of the music I listened to sound funny with the Triangles. The sound stage and imaging are not as strong and the mids feel recessed. The Triangles seem to sound better at quieter volumes. Although there are some differences, they remind me too much of both my JBL Studios and JBL monitors in terms of overall sound (when loud enough).

I still strongly prefer my JBL monitors and the ELACs over the Triangles, JBL Studios, and Klipschs for most music. But I do prefer the Triangles over the JBL Studio and Klipsch for both movies and TV overall (the Triangles are not as dry, gritty, and harsh, and voices are a lot more audible).

JBL Studio 530
If the Klipschs had more depth/darkness and lesser biting highs, they'd probably sound more like the JBL Studio. I think separation and imaging is done better on the JBLs. For example, I listened to Jimi Hendrix's Foxey Lady and the imaging on the JBL Studio was better than the Klipsch (it almost felt like Hendrix was talking to me in the same room). Both brands have a similar brand sound, but the JBLs sound slightly more wet and a little less harsh/dry than the Klipschs.

JBL SUB 550P
It's okay, but it's probably not as fast as a REL sub.



Verdict:
Triangles: Movies + TV
Klipsch: Movies (there's inaudible voices though)
ELACs: Clean sounding Music and some regular TV
JBL Studio 530: They seem like a jack of all trades type of speaker while mastering almost none, maybe some Movies + some Music (but not my 1st choice for either)



But what do I do now?
I would hate to have to return the Triangles and Klipschs back so soon because I think they could be good for home theater. I could use Triangles for fronts and the Klipsch RP-600Ms for rears or surrounds. One issue is that my living room still sort of looks like this:
The other issue is that I live in an apartment, so I can't hide my speaker cables inside walls and perform DIY reconstruction.


This is what my setup would really look like once I buy a Denon/Marantz receiver:

[IMG]


My concern is that the speaker cables will be on my carpeted floor and I don't want that. I still have to walk on and vacuum my floor.


TL;DR
I bought a few pairs of affordable speakers (ELAC, Klipsch, Triangle) for music listening, but I'm not happy with how most of them perform with music. For music, I'm going to just use my ELAC Uni-fi UB5s and JBL 3 Series Mkii monitors and learn to be happy with them. I give up trying to find the perfect speaker and I fear what I'm looking for might not exist and if they do, they may cost at least $10,000. I can't afford to outright buy expensive speakers like the ones from Joseph Audio (maybe in the future I could, but due to covid, I can't even go to my nearest dealer to hear them first before buying).

While the Klipsch and Triangle disappointed/annoyed me musically, they do have potential home theater wise, albeit there may be some challenges setting up the home theater in my apartment living room. Should I keep them for home theater or just return them and weep?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I see shoot-outs like this every once in awhile, but I think there is a much better way of going about this thing. Just get a speaker that is known to be neutral, and EQ it to taste. A lot of what you are doing now is just subjecting yourself to different response curves. I would return all of those speakers,

You say you really like the JBL LSR 3 series but don't like the hiss, well I have some good news for you- try the PreSonus Eris E8 XT speakers. they are as good as the JBLs but don't have nearly as prominent of a hiss.
 
S

subwoofer

Audiophyte
I see shoot-outs like this every once in awhile, but I think there is a much better way of going about this thing. Just get a speaker that is known to be neutral, and EQ it to taste. A lot of what you are doing now is just subjecting yourself to different response curves.
What is the easiest bookshelf speaker to EQ in your experience (ex: Klipsch, ELAC)?

You say you really like the JBL LSR 3 series but don't like the hiss, well I have some good news for you- try the PreSonus Eris E8 XT speakers. they are as good as the JBLs but don't have nearly as prominent of a hiss.
I have the JBL 3 Series Mkii (an updated version of the LSR 3s). How often are the PreSonus on sale? How do they also measure up to the JBL 3 Series Mkii with mixing and mastering music?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
What is the easiest bookshelf speaker to EQ in your experience (ex: Klipsch, ELAC)?



I have the JBL 3 Series Mkii (an updated version of the LSR 3s). How often are the PreSonus on sale? How do they also measure up to the JBL 3 Series Mkii with mixing and mastering music?
Bookshelf speakers that are easy to EQ are those which good directivity control. I would be looking at certain Harman products for that like Infinity or Revel. The JBL LSR 3 series would be good for that.

As for PreSonus Eris speakers, I have never seen them on sale. The Eris E8 XTs would compare well with the JBL LSR 3 series if used properly.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
What is "speed" in a subwoofer? Why would Rel be a choice compared to SVS, Hsu, Power Sound Audio, etc? I can see doing better than the JBL sub with various subs, tho.

The subjective descriptions aren't my language or even cup of tea but gotta ask what the heck is wet and dry and soul for speakers?
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic Chief
I see shoot-outs like this every once in awhile, but I think there is a much better way of going about this thing. Just get a speaker that is known to be neutral, and EQ it to taste. A lot of what you are doing now is just subjecting yourself to different response curves. I would return all of those speakers,
This is sound advice on the surface but if your system doesn't already have EQ capability it can be expensive to add quality EQ. I noticed when testing speakers in my office with the Hegel H90 (without EQ capability) my Canton Vento 9.2 Reference speakers would get my foot tapping and the rhythm section was amazingly strong and dynamic.

I AB tested another high quality speaker that is recognized for it's amazingly flat response and the music sounds timid in comparison. I don't really want to buy an EQ device just to make the flat speaker sound as good as the Vento 9.2 Reference.

Bottom line, in room testing with both speakers in the room at the same time playing your favorite music is the only way to hear the difference and select the speaker that brings a BIG smile to your face.

If you only listen to Classical music then maybe as flat as possible is best? But if you like Jazz, Funk, Rock and music like the NILS Lofgren Acoustic live album or a hot rhythm section, you want PUNCH and sensitive speakers that make you want to yell - YEAH!
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
What is "speed" in a subwoofer? Why would Rel be a choice compared to SVS, Hsu, Power Sound Audio, etc? I can see doing better than the JBL sub with various subs, tho.
Speed is subs that don't reproduce bass. You aren't an audiophile, you wouldn't understand. ;)
 

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