Diminishing returns?

K

Kleinst

Junior Audioholic
I have a setup that I have put together at very cheap prices and frankly I think sounds good. I wish to tap into your expertise

-i have the infinity RC263 center (pretty good for the price but curious if anyone with knowledge on this one knows how it stacks up against more expensive centers?
-towers are infinity Beta 50s. (Got cheap and sound pretty good. But would klipsch rp280s, jbl590, or klipsch rf7 sound dramatically better if running 5.2.4 and crossing over at 80? I mean does the value of the towers diminish a bit when running 9 channels and with 2 subs and only using for home theater/tv And no 2 channel music?
-front 3 powered by emotiva xpa5. Rest by Marantz AVR
-surrounds are pioneer Atmos enabled bookshelves, front Atmos enabled klipsch.. less worried about replacing these
-subs SVS PB2000 and PB1000

so any thoughts on the above and at what point an upgrade is somewhat lateral vs. noticeably Better than what I have? One set is paid for and a new one would cost me :) so I know sound is subjective but I welcome all opinions so I can decide for myself.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
I have a setup that I have put together at very cheap prices and frankly I think sounds good. I wish to tap into your expertise

-i have the infinity RC263 center (pretty good for the price but curious if anyone with knowledge on this one knows how it stacks up against more expensive centers?
-towers are infinity Beta 50s. (Got cheap and sound pretty good. But would klipsch rp280s, jbl590, or klipsch rf7 sound dramatically better if running 5.2.4 and crossing over at 80? I mean does the value of the towers diminish a bit when running 9 channels and with 2 subs and only using for home theater/tv And no 2 channel music?
-front 3 powered by emotiva xpa5. Rest by Marantz AVR
-surrounds are pioneer Atmos enabled bookshelves, front Atmos enabled klipsch.. less worried about replacing these
-subs SVS PB2000 and PB1000

so any thoughts on the above and at what point an upgrade is somewhat lateral vs. noticeably Better than what I have? One set is paid for and a new one would cost me :) so I know sound is subjective but I welcome all opinions so I can decide for myself.
There's been some discussion in more general terms about diminishing returns... I think the biggest thing is what you are after and whether it can be had for a lot or a little. :)
What's your main goal in this quest? Are you looking for better sound? For Music or Movies?

I would say, no, the value of towers does not diminish if you use subs.
As to the speakers you asked about specifically, I can't offer much other than to say, if you get the JBLs on sale, they might be one of the best bargains, bang-for-the-buck-style, that you can get. Several friends here really dig their Studio 5 systems.

Hope this helps.
 
K

Kleinst

Junior Audioholic
Thanks for your reply. I value sound quality and the immersive sound. Also wanted to add that I use Dolby surround upmixing mode for most all my viewing most streaming. And I really don’t listen to music. 100 percent home theater in 5.2.4.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
I'm not familiar with your current speakers but I am a fan of Infinity speakers. I'm also a fan of the JBL 5** series. If I had to guess you might be making a lateral move, but the visual impact of those big beautiful towers (590s) might make them sound better! I'm not even kidding. I have towers and while I do believe there are some advantages to having them over bookshelves, I also think you can get really close to it with bookshelves if you have subs in the mix.

However if you were to replace my towers with bookshelves I'd swear they didn't sound nearly as full and lack presence just because of the visual impact in my room. I love my big speakers.
 
K

Kleinst

Junior Audioholic
Yes the 590s would be tempting. One issue for me is the atmos enabled speakers I put on top of my infinities. The 590 is sloped right? I Would Have to seek another atmos solution too

maybe somewhat lateral as the BETA 50s do have dual 8s, a 5 inch mid and one inch tweeter. I’m sure the 590s are better but not sure how much. Granted if they die then it would be easy decision.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Yes the 590s would be tempting. One issue for me is the atmos enabled speakers I put on top of my infinities. The 590 is sloped right? I Would Have to seek another atmos solution too

maybe somewhat lateral as the BETA 50s do have dual 8s, a 5 inch mid and one inch tweeter. I’m sure the 590s are better but not sure how much. Granted if they die then it would be easy decision.
I don't currently have Atmos but if/when I do it'll be in ceiling. Those upfiring modules often get referred to as "bouncy house speakers" around here, lol.

With the right ceiling and near perfect positioning those can work but in ceiling is the way to go for atmos. Either way I wouldn't let it factor too heavily on my speaker choices. Until then I'm happy with 5.1.
 
Matthew J Poes

Matthew J Poes

Senior Audioholic
I really can't answer your direct question but can speak more in generality.

First, as for diminishing returns, I've tried to pin my fellow reviewers down on numbers for this, get some consensus, and we are all over the place. It also is probably a fairly subjective thing. Maybe to get that extra bit of refinement or extra bit of output costs 10 times more and for me that is worth it, but for you, its a small improvement.

Really, you need to hear it for yourself and decide what makes the most sense.

In general, I think speakers have continued to get better year after year. Speakers today tend to measure a lot better than they used to. Not always, but in general. By measuring better they are also sounding better.

For me, the things I value most in a system cost a lot of money, so my point of diminishing returns is pretty high. I know that @shadyJ disagrees with me on that, feeling that "good enough" sound can be achieved pretty cheaply. I think it comes down to what can make us happy.

While I think there probably is an objective way to figure this all out, I don't think the industry is in a position to do that. Price doesn't really correlate that well with performance. Our metrics for estimating the subjective goodness of a speaker is not as good as it probably could be. For me, good enough is probably around $1000-1500 a pair. Diminishing returns is probably more like $3000. Near perfect seems to be more like $12,000 a pair, and even those speakers would have dynamic range limitations.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
I'm not familiar with your current speakers but I am a fan of Infinity speakers. I'm also a fan of the JBL 5** series. If I had to guess you might be making a lateral move, but the visual impact of those big beautiful towers (590s) might make them sound better! I'm not even kidding. I have towers and while I do believe there are some advantages to having them over bookshelves, I also think you can get really close to it with bookshelves if you have subs in the mix.

However if you were to replace my towers with bookshelves I'd swear they didn't sound nearly as full and lack presence just because of the visual impact in my room. I love my big speakers.
I'm with Pogre here. I have a pair of Infinity Primus P363s and P163s. The floorstanders are just so much more full bodied and I'm not sure adding a sub to the bookshelves would be the same. Of course I've never tried so I could be wrong.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
For me, moving up to towers was an improvement but I attribute that in good part to the room...the same bookshelves in my relatively small bedroom are great, but the tower/larger speakers in the much bigger living room work better. I have the 590s up front with a 520c, 580s for surrounds and 530s for rear surrounds...

What are your room dims?
 
K

Kleinst

Junior Audioholic
Room is about 10x20 with an opening at the top of the stairs to downstairs. But the MLP is only about 9 feet from the front speakers.

i agree i would never trade in my towers. I was more meaning that with the sound being distributed among 9 channels plus 2 subs, is there likely much difference that the two front towers will make between a set of towers with an SRP of 500 vs ones at 2000 like the Klipsch RF7 iii. I’m sure there is improvement but there better be. The Beta 50s I have a good and have dual 8s a mid and a tweeter so not lacking in drivers. I get curious about speakers like the rf7s when I see a used pair but those are still very expensive even used
 
P

pcosmic

Junior Audioholic
JBL studio 590s on their 50%sale (1000 bucks/pair) is the ultimate steal and can be a "end game" speaker for many guys. I bought my older kid a pair of these. I am a lil spoilt with tens of thousands in gear and speakers. But, if i was asked to live with a pair of 590s and the right electronics, i could do it. They easily tower over the lousy Klipschs and have a sophistication the other speakers on your list won't. Greg Timbers is kinda like Andrew Jones's all American genius big brother when it comes to offering value.

For surround sound, 5 good speakers and 2 subs is far greater than 9 sht boxes and 2 shtbox subs...you could even skip the center channel and make it 4 speakers and 2 subs...quality over quantity!
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Chiming in here make sure to audition the speakers ABing against your speakers in your room level matched appropriately on your gear

JBL has a very very generous return policy so debuting them will cost you nothing

I feel like for the price my 590's are just a killer steal and even though I'm always grumbling to the guys about getting my end game speakers Its going to be a long time in talking myself into it because to improve on these I'm going to have to pay a WHOLE LOT MORE and I LOVE these speakers so I'm not exactly in a rush

But I came to that conclusion A B comparing them to 2 or 3 other options in my home my room before I made that jump

It can be a pain in the butt to rebox and send stuff back but it well worth finding out what's best for your ears in your room

And since companies like JBL have generous for free return policies it's well worth it
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic
Yes the 590s would be tempting. One issue for me is the atmos enabled speakers I put on top of my infinities. The 590 is sloped right? I Would Have to seek another atmos solution too

maybe somewhat lateral as the BETA 50s do have dual 8s, a 5 inch mid and one inch tweeter. I’m sure the 590s are better but not sure how much. Granted if they die then it would be easy decision.
The speakers you have are pretty good and the ones you are talking about may be a lateral move. Sometimes we want something better not realizing what we have is already pretty good.

My suggestion would be to order your new speakers from Crutchfield or Best Buy and try them in your room for a week before you decide if the SQ difference is worth the update cost. This way if you want to return them you don't lose a substantial amount.
 
K

Kleinst

Junior Audioholic
I did end up getting the 590s and 530s and do like them. I sold my old Infinity's for about 3/4 of what I bought the JBLs for so win there. Like that I now have a 5 year warranty. I think the SQ has improved some but I'm still breaking them in. The 530s are just starting to come to life and sound great. Some say it's not but break in is a real thing in my experience. I'm still curious about Klipsch R7 iii's but I'm not ready to pay $2500-$3500 to find out. I plan to keep the JBLs a good while. I also put in ceiling Atmos vs. upfiring that i had before and think it's a worthy investment (although it kind of hurts for the installation cost)

Most all my speakers are Harmon now because of their great promotions and customer service/return policy. (JBL set up and Infinity Reference set up). Probably somewhat entry level speakers but they are doing the trick for now. I think for anything significantly more expensive than these, I would have to really A/B it because I just can't imagine how incremental the SQ would be. But you all might know better than I.

Thanks for your responses!
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
I did end up getting the 590s and 530s and do like them. I sold my old Infinity's for about 3/4 of what I bought the JBLs for so win there. Like that I now have a 5 year warranty. I think the SQ has improved some but I'm still breaking them in. The 530s are just starting to come to life and sound great. Some say it's not but break in is a real thing in my experience. I'm still curious about Klipsch R7 iii's but I'm not ready to pay $2500-$3500 to find out. I plan to keep the JBLs a good while. I also put in ceiling Atmos vs. upfiring that i had before and think it's a worthy investment (although it kind of hurts for the installation cost)

Most all my speakers are Harmon now because of their great promotions and customer service/return policy. (JBL set up and Infinity Reference set up). Probably somewhat entry level speakers but they are doing the trick for now. I think for anything significantly more expensive than these, I would have to really A/B it because I just can't imagine how incremental the SQ would be. But you all might know better than I.

Thanks for your responses!
Welcome to the 590 club! Lol. Glad to hear your enjoying them and congratulations on your purchase and atmos installation! What ceiling speakers did you go with if you don't mind me asking?
 
K

Kleinst

Junior Audioholic
Thanks, Sure thing. I got the Canton 865's from Accessories4Less. Seem to be of good quality and sound. I don't have a great point of reference vs other ceiling speakers but it is nice knowing they are up there vs. the upfiring I had before.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic
I think the SQ has improved some but I'm still breaking them in. The 530s are just starting to come to life and sound great. Some say it's not but break in is a real thing in my experience.
In my experience the speaker break in period is mostly about breaking in the users ears to the new sound. There are several speakers I purchased over the years that took me awhile to fully appreciate. :D

As far as speaker warranty, I have never had a quality speaker break on me in the first ten years from purchase. That's why I really don't worry much about buying refurbs. Maybe if your having regular rave parties and someone else has access to the volume control it might come in handy. Congrats with your new speaker setup!
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
I did end up getting the 590s and 530s and do like them. I sold my old Infinity's for about 3/4 of what I bought the JBLs for so win there. Like that I now have a 5 year warranty. I think the SQ has improved some but I'm still breaking them in. The 530s are just starting to come to life and sound great. Some say it's not but break in is a real thing in my experience. I'm still curious about Klipsch R7 iii's but I'm not ready to pay $2500-$3500 to find out. I plan to keep the JBLs a good while. I also put in ceiling Atmos vs. upfiring that i had before and think it's a worthy investment (although it kind of hurts for the installation cost)

Most all my speakers are Harmon now because of their great promotions and customer service/return policy. (JBL set up and Infinity Reference set up). Probably somewhat entry level speakers but they are doing the trick for now. I think for anything significantly more expensive than these, I would have to really A/B it because I just can't imagine how incremental the SQ would be. But you all might know better than I.

Thanks for your responses!
I think break in is real, just not in the way most folks think. It's more you breaking into them and getting used to the new timbre.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Based on my personal experience with blind vs sighted evaluations, I believe the sighted perception that Tower speakers have a lot more to offer (when well tuned subs are in play) is very real!
However, when unaware of what the speakers look like, I do not detect the differences I did (and I thought were obvious) when I could see them!

Caveats:
1) If there is no subwoofer in play, most towers will deliver deeper bass!
2) Generally a Tower will be more efficient than the correlating bookshelf, so if you are presenting a difficult load with the bookshelf, the tower may take the strain off of your amp.
3) Often, a tower is designed to support a higher level of SPL so if you sit far away and really like to crank it, you may find/push the limits of the bookshelf while the tower is more likely capable of meeting your demand for SPL!
4) For some companies the differences between their tower and bookshelf is much greater than others. As an example, for the Infinity Reference Series, the tower is a 3-way while the bookshelf is a 2-way. However, among the JBL 5 Series, the 530 and the 590 are both 2-ways. Obviously when the design is different between the tower and the bookshelf, the differences between them are increased (sometimes that helps towers, sometimes it hurts them). Among companies that have good engineering that targets a simular sound character from their speakers, different designs will still have largely the same character.
5) The location of your towers, if you plan to run them full range, is of paramount importance. The extra bass presented by towers may tempt you to lower the crossover to the sub(s) or to keep the XO at 80Hz, but use both your sub(s) and the towers for bass. Below around 250Hz, the room is a dominant influence! Your towers may help balance and even out the bass through your room similar to adding two more subs! However, it would be a mistake to just add them in and assume it would improve the quality of your bass. Based on my informal tally of accounts of people who attempt this while measuring the results, it seems that more often than not, they simply cannot obtain better results using the towers because they cannot reposition the towers for optimal bass. It has become common wisdom when running Audyssey to set your towers as small so they are not involved in producing bass. However, there is always the possibility that you would be one of "the fortunate few"

My experience has been:
Most well designed bookshelf speakers produce ample SPL for normal listening in a typical living room (item #3 above), I use a sub (Item #1 above), and I have ample power to work with my bookshelf speakers (#2).
So I see #4 and #5 as the true "wild cards"!.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
If you have bookshelf speakers and subs, you don't need towers. Towers with subs, I don't get it. If I choose towers, I probably won't buy subs.
 

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