Home Theater Room: High Efficiency vs Pro Cinema recommendations

S

sr2002

Audioholic Intern
I'm currently in the process of building a media room (5.2.2)
Existing equipment:
Denon X4500H
Paradigm Studio 20 v5 bookshelf
SVS PB4000
Room dimensions: 18x17x9 ft

I'm trying to decide on equipment and stumbled upon the high efficiency speakers (both Pro and Home) and wanted so recommendations on what to expect and whether its worth considering them over standard tower based LR channels (SVS Ultra towers for example)
The speakers I was considering for LCR were:
Klipsch Heresy IV
Klipsch KL-650-THX or KL-525-THX
PSA MTM-210
JBL L82 Classic
JBL Pro Cinema 3678
JBL Pro Cinema C211

Subwoofers Optional, as I can just use the PB4000 for the time being (Either compliment existing PB4000 or standalone):
1x PSA 1512DF
1x Rythmik FV15HP
1x Rythmik FV18
JBL Pro Cinema 3635 (+ Crown CDi 1000)
JBL Pro Cinema 4641 (+ Crown CDi 1000)

This room is going to be dedicated for Movies and maybe 10-20% music listening. I'm trying to keep my budget for the speakers + Subwoofer under USD $5k. Trying to understand the advantages to home HE speakers as well as the Pro cinema speakers. Also trying to understand if there's a catch as far as the amplification or wiring of any of these. My Front LCRs are being prewired with 12Gauge Copper, so hopefully current handling won't be an issue.
Thanks and looking forward to recommendations. Cheers
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Just quickly...
The Heresy Speakers are not very good, though they have a cult following. I would pass hard on those.
Your PB 4000 is a very good Sub... no reason to replace. If anything, add a second matching.
Per above, it is not recommended to mix and match subs as you can get tricky acoustic problems because of different tuning and roll-off creating nulls or cancelations in FR.
Good 12AWG wire should be fine for most usage that you will encounter. Nothing fancy is necessary here.

As for the speakers... I would steer you towards something like the new JBL HDI line. So many options, though, that it really depends on what your ultimate goals are; how you will set up your speakers and whether you want good high end gear that you can live with for 10+ years.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Klipsch KL-650-THX or KL-525-THX
S&V did measurements of the Klipsch KL-650-THX THX Ultra2 speaker and it had among the best FR I‘ve seen from S&V.

“The KL-650-THX's listening-window response (a five-point average of axial and +/–15-degree horizontal and vertical responses) measures +1.00/–0.87 dB from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. An average of axial and +/–15-degree horizontal responses measures +1.53/–0.56 dB from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. The –3dB point is at 56 Hz, and the –6dB point is at 49 Hz. Impedance reaches a minimum of 4.15 ohms at 174 Hz and a phase angle of –59.88 degrees at 96 Hz.”



As with everything else, it usually comes down to discounts and availability.
 
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nathan_h

nathan_h

Audioholic
Of course most of what one hears from a speaker is the off axis response (that’s what fills the room) so that is important but unfortunately seldom shared with customers in a useful way (eg, using the CEA2034 format).* So just looking at output won't get you great sound. But you do need output so we can start there.

But perhaps more to the point, we don't know the seating distance for this theater, so it is all guesswork (even if we assume that reference level output is wanted) since seating distance is a key variable in figuring out what speaker and amplification are required.

I'll take a guess that since the room is roughly 18 by 17 feet, the main seating is probably about 10-12 feet from the front speakers.

Let's conservatively assume a c.100 watt per channel AVR / amplifier setup.


Looks like you'd need a 93db efficient speaker to reach reference levels for the front row.
Screen Shot 2021-03-05 at 5.22.47 AM.png


And perhaps 96db efficient for the rear of the room to get blasted that much.

That does suggest you need really efficient speakers!

Something like Triad Gold LCR have 92db efficiency but can also handle more than 400 watts of power. Those would work for you but unless you find them second hand might eat up too much of your budget.

The PSA speakers you mention will have more headroom and take less power to drive and cost less, so that would be a reasonable choice though again at 1k per speaker your budget may have trouble? The THX you mention have the output. But none of these have good data about their response in a way that doesn't obfuscate the details you need to be sure you are not just getting high output and okay on axis response. (Example, look at the published measurements for the Klipsch. Can you tell whether the off axis response mimics the on axis response or just that it varies within an audibly wide window? I can't.)

You might also want to add Procella to your list of speakers to consider, as well as JTR (which, on the used market, might also fit your budget, and have huge output).

--

You've got one great sub already. It is MUCH easier to integrate two subs that are identical, so I would just get another one of those.


--

*Summary of some key studies about how people tend to prefer speakers with good off axis response: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2008/12/part-3-relationship-between-loudspeaker.html
 
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S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I'm currently in the process of building a media room (5.2.2)
Existing equipment:
Denon X4500H
Paradigm Studio 20 v5 bookshelf
SVS PB4000
Room dimensions: 18x17x9 ft

I'm trying to decide on equipment and stumbled upon the high efficiency speakers (both Pro and Home) and wanted so recommendations on what to expect and whether its worth considering them over standard tower based LR channels (SVS Ultra towers for example)
The speakers I was considering for LCR were:
Klipsch Heresy IV
Klipsch KL-650-THX or KL-525-THX
PSA MTM-210
JBL L82 Classic
JBL Pro Cinema 3678
JBL Pro Cinema C211

Subwoofers Optional, as I can just use the PB4000 for the time being (Either compliment existing PB4000 or standalone):
1x PSA 1512DF
1x Rythmik FV15HP
1x Rythmik FV18
JBL Pro Cinema 3635 (+ Crown CDi 1000)
JBL Pro Cinema 4641 (+ Crown CDi 1000)

This room is going to be dedicated for Movies and maybe 10-20% music listening. I'm trying to keep my budget for the speakers + Subwoofer under USD $5k. Trying to understand the advantages to home HE speakers as well as the Pro cinema speakers. Also trying to understand if there's a catch as far as the amplification or wiring of any of these. My Front LCRs are being prewired with 12Gauge Copper, so hopefully current handling won't be an issue.
Thanks and looking forward to recommendations. Cheers
I wouldn't get any of those speakers. The Klipsch Heresy is terrible. The KL-650s are fine but over-priced. If you can get a good discount on them, they may be worth it. The PSA speaker is overpriced and uses a bargain bin waveguide. The JBL L82 is likely a good speaker but isn't exactly a high-sensitivity design and isn't really what you are interested in. The JBL cinema speakers need external processing and calibration equipment that you aren't going to have access to.

If I were you, I would be looking at some QSC K2 series used in monitor mode. They have a good waveguide, decent drivers, and their own amplification and DSP. They are also not hugely expensive. They can get really loud but aren't badly inaccurate speakers. The JBL Eon 600s might be OK too.

The only sub I would even consider from that list is the FV15HP. I would keep the SVS sub, it's good, but I might supplement it with something that has more mid-bass output with a similar tuning point. The FV15Hp can do that. The Hsu VTF-15H Mk2 can do that. The Monoprice Monolith 15" THX Ultra would also be a good choice.
 
S

sr2002

Audioholic Intern
I wouldn't get any of those speakers. The Klipsch Heresy is terrible. The KL-650s are fine but over-priced. If you can get a good discount on them, they may be worth it. The PSA speaker is overpriced and uses a bargain bin waveguide. The JBL L82 is likely a good speaker but isn't exactly a high-sensitivity design and isn't really what you are interested in. The JBL cinema speakers need external processing and calibration equipment that you aren't going to have access to.

If I were you, I would be looking at some QSC K2 series used in monitor mode. They have a good waveguide, decent drivers, and their own amplification and DSP. They are also not hugely expensive. They can get really loud but aren't badly inaccurate speakers. The JBL Eon 600s might be OK too.

The only sub I would even consider from that list is the FV15HP. I would keep the SVS sub, it's good, but I might supplement it with something that has more mid-bass output with a similar tuning point. The FV15Hp can do that. The Hsu VTF-15H Mk2 can do that. The Monoprice Monolith 15" THX Ultra would also be a good choice.
Thanks for the inputs, can you elaborate a little on the external calibration and processing for the JBLs? I have a Denon receiver with Audessey as well as manual EQ, wouldn't that be sufficient to tame them? I could additionally look into getting minidsp or something of that sort.

The issue with Monitors is going to be that my media room is already prewired for Passive speakers and an active subs and its going to be too much of a hassle to re-think the whole setup. Not to mention, monitors will likely be more expensive themselves compared to equivalent passives.

Agreed about the subs, I'm leaning towards Rythmik, PSA stuff has little to no reviews so its really hard to tell if its all marketing fluff or if they actually have any substance
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Thanks for the inputs, can you elaborate a little on the external calibration and processing for the JBLs? I have a Denon receiver with Audessey as well as manual EQ, wouldn't that be sufficient to tame them? I could additionally look into getting minidsp or something of that sort.

The issue with Monitors is going to be that my media room is already prewired for Passive speakers and an active subs and its going to be too much of a hassle to re-think the whole setup. Not to mention, monitors will likely be more expensive themselves compared to equivalent passives.

Agreed about the subs, I'm leaning towards Rythmik, PSA stuff has little to no reviews so its really hard to tell if its all marketing fluff or if they actually have any substance
Those cinema speakers expect to be calibrated with commercial cinema DSP systems. This is not at all like Audyssey or whatever your AVR has. Go look at the files and documentation for the speakers on JBL's product pages for them. Furthermore, for the 3678, you probably don't have enough distance from the screen for the drivers to integrate. Those are meant to be positioned a good distance away from the audience like you would have in a commercial cinema.

Something else is you want a high-output system but you are driving it with a Denon receiver? I guess you can, but it almost defeats the point. To be honest, I can't think of that many really good passive, high-sensitivity speakers that are cheap. Getting hung up on passive speakers is going to cost you more in the end than active speakers for the kind of system you want and can also afford.
 
S

Sadie42

Audioholic Intern
Klipsch is really the only game in town for high sensitivity and a decent aesthetic.

The Heresy has been completely revamped. It is now ported, uses steep slope filters, and a new midrange horn and polyimide loaded compression driver. It sounds very good.

The new Heritage line up is voiced more for two channel, if you want to light up a room for HT, you should try and score some RF-7iii on sale with the matching RC-64iii. The newest stuff is non-Klipsch like -- still dynamic, but no longer with the excessively tipped up top end.

The THX 2 Ultra set up would be awesome if you have a line on those.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Klipsch speakers may be higher sensitivity (though Klipsch does fib about the sensitivity quite freely), but a bevy of other problems raises serious questions as to whether they are truly worthwhile. The Heresy IV is no exception. Erin did a full review with measurements here:
Even in the 8000F, what may be the closest speaker they build to a “good” design you see readily identifiable issues around the crossover region of the FR.

OP would be far better served buying JBL Studio 5 series speakers, especially when on sale.
 
S

sr2002

Audioholic Intern
Those cinema speakers expect to be calibrated with commercial cinema DSP systems. This is not at all like Audyssey or whatever your AVR has. Go look at the files and documentation for the speakers on JBL's product pages for them. Furthermore, for the 3678, you probably don't have enough distance from the screen for the drivers to integrate. Those are meant to be positioned a good distance away from the audience like you would have in a commercial cinema.

Something else is you want a high-output system but you are driving it with a Denon receiver? I guess you can, but it almost defeats the point. To be honest, I can't think of that many really good passive, high-sensitivity speakers that are cheap. Getting hung up on passive speakers is going to cost you more in the end than active speakers for the kind of system you want and can also afford.
I'm seeing quite a few post of people successfully integrating JBL, QSC and JTR cinema speakers in rooms equivalent to mine. Granted my room is on the square side, but still there is going to be at least 12-14ft distance between listener and the front speakers. I read the white paper on JBL's site, I didn't quite notice any requirements of special equipment. The calibration numbers over there seem to be talking about maintaining THX approval numbers and optimal placements in a large or medium size theater. Not trying to disprove you or anything, just trying to understand your reasoning, are there specific models you have experience with from the pro line?

As for high output, that's the whole point of a high efficiency speaker, to be driven by Class-D amps from an AV receiver and still get the dynamic response at low volumes. I don't intend to play these are very high outputs. Also down the line I plan to buy a Crown class-d amp or Emotiva/Monolith Multi-channel amp to drive these
 
S

sr2002

Audioholic Intern
Klipsch speakers may be higher sensitivity (though Klipsch does fib about the sensitivity quite freely), but a bevy of other problems raises serious questions as to whether they are truly worthwhile. The Heresy IV is no exception. Erin did a full review with measurements here:
Even in the 8000F, what may be the closest speaker they build to a “good” design you see readily identifiable issues around the crossover region of the FR.

OP would be far better served buying JBL Studio 5 series speakers, especially when on sale.
Thanks for pointing that out, I've definitely gotten mixed reviews from forum members about the Heritage line from Klipsch. And as for the JBL Studio 5 series, that definitely on my radar, but wouldn't a PSA MTM speaker be a better choice at almost the same price?
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Without PSA choosing to have their speakers and Subs subjected to 3rd party measurements, I can’t recommend them. And thus far, I haven’t seen anybody offer to buy any gear on their own and send it off.
I’d love to see Shady, Erin, even Amir, do some tests, as would many other forum members.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
If I were in your shoes and I were happy with the Paradigm's sound, I use the existing monitors as surround speakers and look into their equivalent towers and center channel. They are a far better speakers than what you have been looking at. Even my PSB Image T45s using 2 X 5.25" woofers were able to achieve 90+ db in my house without fuss or strain with the listener position being a similar 12' feet away.

As for subs, I'm a huge fan of Rythmik owning one myself. That being said, your SVS is no slouch either. Its actually quite a good sub. I would simply add a 2nd 4000 to your equipment. What you are looking for with 2nd sub is to even out the bass respone across the listener position. I was able to do it with 1 sub in my room BUT, my room is a lot smaller than yours. I used REW and moved the sub all over the place until I found the sweet spot.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Most commercial cinema speakers are made for very large rooms. The thing is, treble frequencies attenuate with distance much more than lower frequencies, and a lot of cinema speakers compensate for that. They can also compensate for the high-frequency losses that occur with AT screens from commercial cinemas. Cinema speakers are engineered for the acoustics of large rooms, and the type of reflectivity those rooms ordinarily have. They are also made for driver integration at farther distances. They are intended to be used with cinema processors and calibrated accordingly. While you could use a normal home audio equalizer like Audyssey to shape the response, those type of room correction systems are very limited. You would want a serious equalizer to tangle with the response of a cinema speaker. Have you seen the responses or commercial cinema speakers? By home audio standards, they can be really bad, but that is OK since they will be calibrated by a professional for a certain set of target responses in an auditorium. However, it is not a good starting point in a home system. I remember reading an interview once with a JBL cinema speaker engineer where the interviewer inquired about the possibility of using a cinema speaker as a home audio speaker, and the engineer tried to discourage the idea. I guess you could always try it and see for yourself how well it works. If it were me, I would want to know the response of the speakers that I am using to start with.
 
S

Sadie42

Audioholic Intern
Thanks for sharing that review. Man, that’s disappointing. It does not measure as well as I thought it would

The 8000F is not an RF-7iii. Generally speaking, you do get what you pay for.

I’ve never seen a horn loaded loudspeaker stay +/-3dB across its response. People don’t buy them for their smooth response, but for their dynamics and ability to reach higher SPLs at lower distortion levels.

I did horns for 20 years, and while I have moved on, I would go back to them in a hot second if I was using my system mostly for movies.

I was looking at JBL 590 last night, on sale at Amazon for $599 each. Another intriguing loudspeaker. Anyone here measure that one yet?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Thanks for sharing that review. Man, that’s disappointing. It does not measure as well as I thought it would

The 8000F is not an RF-7iii. Generally speaking, you do get what you pay for.

I’ve never seen a horn loaded loudspeaker stay +/-3dB across its response. People don’t buy them for their smooth response, but for their dynamics and ability to reach higher SPLs at lower distortion levels.

I did horns for 20 years, and while I have moved on, I would go back to them in a hot second if I was using my system mostly for movies.

I was looking at JBL 590 last night, on sale at Amazon for $599 each. Another intriguing loudspeaker. Anyone here measure that one yet?
Horns can have a very flat response. Look at JTR, JBL HDI series, JBL Pro monitors, Gedlee, to name just a few. The problem is that it's not easy to work out the waveguide geometry to maintain uniform directivity over such a large frequency band. By the way, the 8000F has a relatively flat response, at least on-axis, probably better than that of the RF-7 III. In fact, I would probably go for an 8000F over an RF-7 III.
 
S

sr2002

Audioholic Intern
You are right about the PSAs not letting third parties test, which is exactly what's causing me to question them. People who have them seem to love them but no reals reviews still.

As for the Paradigms, I'm honestly tired of them, I've had them for 5-6 years and I had bought them because they were on sale and I had a tight budget. Now after being used to my MC152 + Freya+ + LS50 Hifi setup, I'm kind of done with Paradigm. I have a separate Hifi room, where I'll be upgrading from the LS50s to either something like the Kef R/Reference or B&W 800 series. That being said, point I'm trying to make is I won't be using the theater room for music listening or critical listening.

ShadyJ I agree with your point, even I read/heard about the commercial horns being designed for long distance attenuation and having to deal with a screen in front of them. But I kept thinking those HF peaks could be tamed with some EQ on the receiver. But sounds like I might end up with a 120lb mistake, which will be impossible to sell or return.

Sadie42 I have been interested in the Studio 590s, but for some reason they just seem to obvious and plain (purely my subjective opinion on them, nothing to do with performance). I always wanted something exclusive and out of the ordinary for my media room (something with Wow factor).

Any opinions on JTR speakers? Especially the relatively cheap 110HT or the 210HT ?
 
K

kini

Audioholic
You are right about the PSAs not letting third parties test, which is exactly what's causing me to question them. People who have them seem to love them but no reals reviews still.

As for the Paradigms, I'm honestly tired of them, I've had them for 5-6 years and I had bought them because they were on sale and I had a tight budget. Now after being used to my MC152 + Freya+ + LS50 Hifi setup, I'm kind of done with Paradigm. I have a separate Hifi room, where I'll be upgrading from the LS50s to either something like the Kef R/Reference or B&W 800 series. That being said, point I'm trying to make is I won't be using the theater room for music listening or critical listening.

ShadyJ I agree with your point, even I read/heard about the commercial horns being designed for long distance attenuation and having to deal with a screen in front of them. But I kept thinking those HF peaks could be tamed with some EQ on the receiver. But sounds like I might end up with a 120lb mistake, which will be impossible to sell or return.

Sadie42 I have been interested in the Studio 590s, but for some reason they just seem to obvious and plain (purely my subjective opinion on them, nothing to do with performance). I always wanted something exclusive and out of the ordinary for my media room (something with Wow factor).

Any opinions on JTR speakers? Especially the relatively cheap 110HT or the 210HT ?
If you can afford JTR and really want HE speakers then get them. IMO with that size room you don't need HE speakers. Are you planning on listening at reference level all the time? I think you'd be happier overall with "regular" speakers from Revel, Focal, Wharfedale or Kef even if you need or want to add an amp.
 
S

sr2002

Audioholic Intern
If you can afford JTR and really want HE speakers then get them. IMO with that size room you don't need HE speakers. Are you planning on listening at reference level all the time? I think you'd be happier overall with "regular" speakers from Revel, Focal, Wharfedale or Kef even if you need or want to add an amp.
I'm not planing to listen at reference levels, but I wanted easy to drive speakers so that the dynamic effects at low to medium volumes come through without the Amp being a bottle neck. Also from at least my point of view there is no replacement for displacement (referring to 10-15" cones and Horns), so that's another motivation. I already have a separate hifi setup in another room with regular speakers (Kef and Paradigms) and that setup will see upgrades from ProAc or Ascend or B&W 800 series down the road. For the Theater room I wanted something purpose built, maybe exclusive an scalable (if I move to a new house down the road and have a bigger room).

I know I might sound ridiculous, but when it comes to audio gear, I do tend to go a little nuts haha ... Also for once since its my media room I don't have to deal with WAF, so I need to take full advantage of that
 
nathan_h

nathan_h

Audioholic
I'm not planing to listen at reference levels, but I wanted easy to drive speakers so that the dynamic effects at low to medium volumes come through without the Amp being a bottle neck.
I don’t understand this logic.

IIRC, at low to medium volumes you don’t need high efficiency speakers. In fact they’re can be a drag and reveal the noise floor of the amplification.

You need HE speakers at high volumes to deliver high spl cleanly.
 

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