Salk Sound HT built around SS8 Towers

G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Hi All,

I'm just beginning to get into the audiophile/HT world. I've been lurking around for a couple of years trying to learn all I can.

I'm wanting to put together my dream theater but I actually listen more to music. Id say 70% music and 30% movies.

I got started like most everyone in that I started reading a lot of reviews and Goldenear seemed to garner a lot of praise from most media outlets. When I read that one reviewer even bought and entire system based on the Reference towers I thought well that's it, that's what i'll get.

More reading on the forums and things though led me to Salk Sound and the more I read the more it seems the sound they put out is roundly praised by everyone who hears themes........

Enter the Salk Sound SS8 R&L towers to anchor a 7.2.4 system.( I originally thought I'd do a 9.2.6 system but Pogre talked me out of it-overkill-). I decided on the SS7c center, and I'm stuck on what to do for the 4 surrounds. I read some fantastic reviews on the BMR and thought those would be great but was advised those might be overkill in a HT system as surrounds.

So, I'd welcome any suggestions from everyone realizing that obviously I will consult with Jim Salk before I purchase anything.

gr8eyes
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
If all goes well, I should be able to follow up tonight. :) Cheers!
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic General
I think a large part of it depends on what you want to spend and if you plan to listen to multi channel music at all. If you have any plans to go with multichannel music I'd personally want to have similarly capable speakers with matching tweeters. So I'd stick with something with a RAAL ribbon in that case, like BMR's or supercharged song surrounds. In my email exchanges with Jim, he in essence told me that you could mix and match any of his speakers as they are all voiced to the same standard. (as in pick what you want to spend on surrounds from him and get what fits your budget) If you're going to mostly stick with stereo music, I'd be inclined to get less expensive surrounds and put more money into my mains and/or center.

The BMR's are fantastic speakers by all the accounts that I've read, and I think the "overkill" comments stem from that reputation, especially in the context of home theater (movie) use. I for one don't think they'd be overkill as surrounds for multichannel music when your fronts are ss8's.
 
G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
ryanosaur, thanks ill be interested to hear from you.

NINaudio, your comments are right in line with what I was thinking regarding the BMR's as surrounds. Yes I'll be using as multichannel audio as well, actually , maybe more than 2 channel.

Budgetwise I'd like to stay under 2500 a pr for surrounds so 5000 total.

The room is 18x22 by 9 ft high if that makes a lot of difference.

the main type of listening i do is almost all classic rock so anything from the decade of the 70's

I do like it loud too. As a matter of fact I always look forward to my wife running errands so I can turn the volume knob up to 8-9, out of 10:)
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
I think a large part of it depends on what you want to spend and if you plan to listen to multi channel music at all. If you have any plans to go with multichannel music I'd personally want to have similarly capable speakers with matching tweeters. So I'd stick with something with a RAAL ribbon in that case, like BMR's or supercharged song surrounds. In my email exchanges with Jim, he in essence told me that you could mix and match any of his speakers as they are all voiced to the same standard. (as in pick what you want to spend on surrounds from him and get what fits your budget) If you're going to mostly stick with stereo music, I'd be inclined to get less expensive surrounds and put more money into my mains and/or center.

The BMR's are fantastic speakers by all the accounts that I've read, and I think the "overkill" comments stem from that reputation, especially in the context of home theater (movie) use. I for one don't think they'd be overkill as surrounds for multichannel music when your fronts are ss8's.
This.
:)
I was going to touch on some of that myself!
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Enter the Salk Sound SS8 R&L towers to anchor a 7.2.4 system.( I originally thought I'd do a 9.2.6 system but Pogre talked me out of it-overkill-). I decided on the SS7c center, and I'm stuck on what to do for the 4 surrounds. I read some fantastic reviews on the BMR and thought those would be great but was advised those might be overkill in a HT system as surrounds
I have two comments. First, check on the availability of Salk SS8 speakers. I thought it's woofers are no longer available. I believe this was the reason why he developed the newer SS9.5 model. Jim Salk may have a small number of SS8 woofers in his hands, but how might their limited numbers affect the SS8's price? Be sure to ask about that.

Second, I believe the BMR speaker, a 3-way stand-mounted monitor, is an excellent speaker. They are the least expensive speaker, with the smallest cabinet, that qualifies as a nearly full-range no-compromise 3-way speaker. They are, in my opinion, the World's Champion at creating a convincing image and sound stage. But I think it would be a shame to use BMRs as surround speakers. And I would hesitate to spend so much for surround speakers. Of course, it's your money and your choice what to buy, not mine.

FWIW, I have a pair of Salk Veracity ST front left & right speakers, a Salk SongCenter with dome tweeter, and use an older pair of NHT SuperZeros as rear channel speakers in 5 channel system. I usually use 2-channels for music, but not always. I almost always use 5 channels for video. While I can readily tell the difference between the front Salk and rear NHT speakers, I find their overall neutral balance is similar enough to allow them to blend well, especially on older recordings from the 1970s.

The differences between the Veracity ST speakers and the SongCenter are even less obvious. Some older recorded music, when played in my system, seems to sound better if I play it not as 2-channel, but 3-channel. My AVR allows me to choose that option. I suspect filling in at the center of the sound stage is caused by my speaker arrangement, something not easily changed.
I think a large part of it depends on what you want to spend and if you plan to listen to multi channel music at all.
I agree in general with NINaudio, but not when he says:
If you have any plans to go with multichannel music I'd personally want to have similarly capable speakers with matching tweeters. So I'd stick with something with a RAAL ribbon in that case, like BMR's or supercharged song surrounds.
I think the major differences come, not from the tweeter, but from the mid-range driver that works at frequencies below the tweeter. It's off-axis dispersion is beginning to fall off as frequency increases. The tweeter's off-axis performance doesn't become an issue until frequencies are much higher.
In my email exchanges with Jim, he in essence told me that you could mix and match any of his speakers as they are all voiced to the same standard. (as in pick what you want to spend on surrounds from him and get what fits your budget) If you're going to mostly stick with stereo music, I'd be inclined to get less expensive surrounds and put more money into my mains and/or center.
I would readily agree with what Jim Salk said. The 'voicing' of a speaker, as determined by the crossover designer is more important than the type of tweeter or mid-range driver. Because Dennis Murphy designed all these speaker crossovers, his consistent 'voicing' will be present in all of them.

Please keep us informed as you make up your mind. Nothing else on AH is so much fun to read about :).
 
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G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Swerd
Thank you for your input

Obviously I have not been in contact with Jim yet although i did try to email him 2 weeks ago but haven't heard back yet. Maybe it didn't get through.

Please clarify your comment about it being a shame to use BMR's for the surrounds. Is it because surround use just won't tap into their capabilities? Or its just too much money for surrounds? Note I don't mind spending the money on them however if the problem is that as surrounds I would never hear any potential benefit over something in the song series then Id be foolish to put them as surrounds.

Understand, I'm really a noob at this and am enjoying everyones input.

The logical part of my brain says if I'm spending 9000 on front speakers get something commensurate as center and surrounds and the BMR's just stuck out as filling that role.

Oh and I didn't realize the SS8 maybe discontinued, if so that will be disappointing. Ill definitely be getting in touch with Jim when I get close to ordering.

gr8eyes
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I don't see anything wrong with having good surrounds especially with similarities to the mains, as long as the budget can handle it....would love to hear this setup!
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
The BMR Philharmonitors have a relatively narrow vertical dispersion due to the ribbon tweeter, so unless you have them level with the listening position, I don't think they would make great surrounds.
 
G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Thanks lonveinthehd and shadyJ,

The BMR's would have the tweeter placed right at ear level and will be about 8-9 feet from the Main Listening Position.

Do any other speakers from Salks lineup stand out as being more appropriate for Surrounds that aren't over 2500/pr?

Thanks in advance for all replies

Gr8eyes
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Obviously I have not been in contact with Jim yet although i did try to email him 2 weeks ago but haven't heard back yet. Maybe it didn't get through.
Jim Salk's shop was closed during most of the shut-down. He only recently re-opened. So keep trying to contact him. https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=170245.0
Please clarify your comment about it being a shame to use BMR's for the surrounds. Is it because surround use just won't tap into their capabilities? Or its just too much money for surrounds? Note I don't mind spending the money on them however if the problem is that as surrounds I would never hear any potential benefit over something in the song series then Id be foolish to put them as surrounds.
I think it's a shame to use BMRs as surround speakers because their capabilities will be underutilized. I think they're best used as front left & right speakers when someone can't use or doesn't want floor-standing speakers.
Oh and I didn't realize the SS8 maybe discontinued, if so that will be disappointing. Ill definitely be getting in touch with Jim when I get close to ordering.
That's my understanding, but I could be wrong. Be sure to ask Jim. And be sure to ask him what he suggests about surround speakers. My experience with him is very good. He won't try to oversell you something you don't need or can't put to proper use.

Just curious… what speakers do you now have, if any? What are your ears accustomed to? Have you heard any Salk speakers? Salk Speakers is located outside of Detroit, MI, in Pontiac. Jim Salk does keep a list of owners who usually welcome interested buyers to come listen in their homes. I've done that in the past, but with this damn virus, all that may be temporarily impossible.
 
G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Thanks for the great responses Swerd

Forgot the quarantine may have kept him out . I'll keep trying but I don't want to bother him when I'm not quite ready to order yet.

The BMR being underutilized makes logical sense to me and like I said I certainly don't mind spending the money but I'd rather not waste it if there are cheaper alternatives that will do sonically what the BMRs would do in the surround application.. I'm studying the Supercharged song surrounds now. Maybe the would be a good fit with the SS8s

If he has quit making the SS8 I guess ill look at the 9.5 but now ill have to look at a system with Be tweeters and the whole reason I was looking at Dennis and Jims designs was because of the Raal tweeters.LOL

Im ashamed to mention what I have now but........

I had my father living with me and he passed away last summer so the room he was in will be my new HT room
I have had some old Yamaha speakers (18yrs ???) that I used to have in a small room but they haven't been in use for years until this past week
So they are NS777 towers
NS C444 center
NS 333 x4 bookshelves for surrounds
Yamaha 8 in sub
So you can see why I'm so excited to get an audiophile grade HT/Audio system

gr8eyes
 
oldgoalie33

oldgoalie33

Junior Audioholic
I'd echo Swerd's comments about voicing of any of Jim's speakers. I had SS8's and ended up having Jim sell them for me. I just couldn't listen to them long term. I tried several Pass amps with them to try and smooth them out but finally gave up. I think the problem with them was I really didn't like the Accuton midrange.

My current HT system is much like Swerd's... I have SongTower RT's with an RT center and NHT SuperZero's as surrounds. I've had a lot of Jim's speakers and have used the SuperZero's multiple times as surrounds in different configurations and they worked well.

In my living room I have Song 3 Encores with a Song Center (dome tweeter). To my ears it's seamless with the Encores (Jim recommended that to me). If I were you I'd get the mains you want and fill in with a matching center and if you want all Salk, the Song Surround I's are great speakers (I've had a couple pair of them).

If you are settled on going with Salk speakers you don't have to break the bank to get a great sounding system.

Just my $.02
 
G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Hi oldgoalie33
thanks for the input. I'm not following why you didn't like the SS8 as far as not being able to listen to them long term???
Did you have to play them too loud to get them to sound good and therefore kind of get tiring??

gr8eyes
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
This is gonna be fun.

I see both sides of the BMRs for surrounds argument. I would want them if money wasn't an object, for sure., but then again you won't even be getting into half of what they can actually do... I would listen to Jim too, if he felt something else might work as well, or even better. Shady's point about narrow dispersion is a valid one, and he might point you toward something with wider dispersion.

SS8s or 9.5s and BMRs for surrounds tho? Oh hell yeah. I would LOVE to hear that system!
 
G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Well when I get it all done which will be quite a while everyone is welcome to come hear it.

But I haven't even figured out what preamp/ processor and Amp to get.

I'm considering the Yamaha separates, hopefully yamaha will take some of Genes suggestions from his review of the cXa-5200 and incorporate them into a new version by the time I get ready to buy. Of course marantz and Monolith HTP-1 will get looked at as well, but I digress.

Pogre your sentiments on the BMR's are mine exactly.

I'm a bit concerned now that oldgoalie33 above sold his SS8's because they were fatiguing I think he said. I'm not sure what that means.

I would prefer to not buy 9000 dollar speakers and not be happy with them.

I intend for this to be a one and done then leave them to the kids to fight over. LOL

gr8eyes
 
oldgoalie33

oldgoalie33

Junior Audioholic
Hi oldgoalie33
thanks for the input. I'm not following why you didn't like the SS8 as far as not being able to listen to them long term???
Did you have to play them too loud to get them to sound good and therefore kind of get tiring??

gr8eyes
When I moved to the Encores I was comparing them, Song 3's and Song 3 BeAT's at Jim's shop. I remarked to Jim about the SS8's and he asked 'a bit too edgy'? I think that was it. They would play as loud as I could stand but I couldn't comfortably listen to them for a long time. The Accuton mid was just too fatiguing for me.
I was using Pass Class A amps to try and smooth out the edginess (for me). Ultimately didn't work.

The Encores are the best Salks I've owned. To me they're better than the SS8's. If you don't want to break the budget you could go the SongTower route. A great all round speaker.
 
G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Up above when you said encore I couldn't figure out what you were talking about. I thought did he buy the Tekton Encore's. LOL But then I saw them in the song series. So those look real interesting with the beryllium tweeter and Satori woofer. I haven't heard of that midrange but you obviously like it better than the accuton.

Now the 9.5SS looks to be near identical except the the midrange is an audio technology and art has fatter cabinet. I wonder how the encore and the 9.5 sound sonically compared to each other.

gr8eyes
 
oldgoalie33

oldgoalie33

Junior Audioholic
Up above when you said encore I couldn't figure out what you were talking about. I thought did he buy the Tekton Encore's. LOL But then I saw them in the song series. So those look real interesting with the beryllium tweeter and Satori woofer. I haven't heard of that midrange but you obviously like it better than the accuton.

Now the 9.5SS looks to be near identical except the the midrange is an audio technology and art has fatter cabinet. I wonder how the encore and the 9.5 sound sonically compared to each other.

gr8eyes
Haven’t heard the 9.5 but it’s been well received at shows. If I downsize from the Encores I’ll probably look at the SS 6M. I do really like the Eton midrange. BTW, my Encores are the Walnut ones pictured on the right on the Encore specs page.
 
G

gr8eyes

Junior Audioholic
Would I be right in assuming you prefer Be tweeters vs the Raal ribbons

Your speakers are beautiful BTW

Whatever I wind up with as fronts I'll want to stay as close to that configuration as possible on the rest of the 7 base speakers.
So, if I go with the SS8 ill want Raal ribbons all aroundBut if I go with your speakers or the 9.5's ill stay with Be all around

Would that be the best way to approach it or is there no problem mixing the 2 tweeters/?

gr8eyes
 

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