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Piecing together my first HT

 

New member
Username: Sem

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-04
This post is actually referencing something I posted a few months ago, Nov. 15th, https://www.ecoustics.com/cgi-bin/bbs/show.pl?tpc=1&post=38753#POST38753 and I wanted to update as well as ask for a couple more opinions if I may. Back then I got some great advise from Hawk and John A. (thanks so much!!).

Hawk, if you're out there, I took your advice, or at least a portion of it, and listened to and ordered a pair of PSB 4T's on a recent trip to Chicago, (Saturday Audio Exchange), and was finally able to reclaim my stereo. I spent a fair amount of time talking with the owner, Andy Zimmerman, who was very patient and answered all my questions and let me listen to all kinds of goodies. I can highly recommend Saturday Audio.

BTW, the 4T's sound fantastic even when listening to them through my old Sony receiver. I didn't realize how bad my old KLH's were.
Because I'm tying to put together a HT on a relative shoe string, I have to do it in pieces. I should soon have some more money to play with and see that Saturday Audio currently has a special on PSB speakers. My thoughts are to grab one of the last NAD 742s while he still has some, and a pair of Image 2Bs for the surrounds, an Image 8C for the center, and a matching (yet affordable) sub - any suggestions?. I may not be able to grab all these at once due to finances. But assuming I can get a hold of a NAD 742, would it be better to get the surrounds or the center for now?...if it comes to that. What I'm getting at is there any (movie) surround advantage one way or the other? Or will surround not really come into play until all the pieces are in place?


Also, John A. while in Chicago I had a chat, albeit a very brief chat, with Mr. Parsons. Unfortunately it was so brief that I didn't have a chance to ask him about the George Martin/stereo/mono issue you brought up earlier. Hopefully I'll have another opportunity in the near future.

Thanks in advance!!!
Sem
 

New member
Username: Vulture99

Post Number: 6
Registered: Feb-04
I just want to echo Sem's comments about Saturday Audio. I recently purchased some NAD gear and PSB speakers from them, and was very pleased with Andy's helpfulness and quick replies to e-mails. The boxes are supposed to arrive Monday, so I'm in waiting mode.

BTW, Saturday Audio is currently having a deal on PSB speakers - extra discount if you buy them along with a NAD receiver or get a full 5-speaker set. Saved me an extra 20 bucks.

Sem, if Saturday Audio can't find you a 742 you might check out dmc-electronics.com, as they tend to have really good deals on refurbished NAD gear.

I'll also be piecing together speakers for a surround system over time, so I'm interested in reading replies to Sem's questions about which speakers should be purchased first, etc...
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 158
Registered: Dec-03
Sem and Mike,

I can also attest to Saturday Audio's great customer service. I spoke with Andy as well MANY times over email and twice over the phone and he was simply wonderful. I bought an NAD T762, PSB 2B's and an 9c.

Sem,

Let me see if I can make some recommendations that can possibly save you some money. First of all, to get a true "surround sound", you obviously need to have all 5 of the speakers. I guess which speaker is most important is up to you. Obviously, if you don't have surrounds...then you won't get any "surround effects" at all. But, in home theater, the center speaker is by far the most important. This is where probably 75% of the sound comes from (since dialog comes from the center). If you don't have a center speaker, the sounds that would come from the center will be split among the two front speakers. So, like I said, it is really a personal preference I think. If you want that "surround" fealing, then get the surrounds first...if you want clearer dialog and better overall sound from the front, then go for the center first.

However, like I said, let me make some recommendations that might save you some money (so you can get both now). First of all, maybe you should consider getting the 1B as surrounds instead of the 2B's. I don't know what kind of prices Andy was giving you, but the 1B's are $100 cheaper at retail. The 8c, 4T's, and 1B's all have 5 1/4 inch drivers...while the 2B's have 6 1/2 inch drivers. If you got the 1B's, you could keep the driver size the same throughout. Obviously, keeping the driver size the same isn't essential, but getting the 2B's might be overkill and unecessary if you are only using them for surrounds. Also, if you haven't seen them, the 2B's really are big and heavy for bookshelf speakers. The 1B's would be smaller and might be better suited for surround use.

Also, when I bought my PSB speakers, I bought them as a "bad box" deal. Basically, the BOX ONLY was damaged in shipping. The speaker itself was undamaged and carried a full warranty. But, since the box was damaged, they couldn't sell it at full price. Andy gave me a VERY good discount (on top of the already low Saturday Audio price). I think I got the 9C ($399 retail) for $275. Andy said that he gets shipments of these "bad box" speakers in 3-4 times a year. Give him a buzz, and see if there are any shipments due soon.

Hope I could help. If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to ask.
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 302
Registered: Dec-03
Sem,

I agree with Johnny about the need for a center speaker. DVDs are just made that way - most of the dialogue is on that center channel.

You "old KLHs" could do fine for surrounds for the time being, unless they are really shot. I remember the foam was coming out or something. There is nothing that cannot be fixed. I run an ancient pair of KEF Coda IIs circa 1983 for surrounds and they are brilliant.

The thread on the T742 versus the T761 is here.

The PSB 4T has excellent bass extension and a sub might give a bit extra one day, but it is hardly necessary, now. So I would recommend getting a T742 or T761 (the latter having a a little more power - may be a factor if you have a big room), plus a good center speaker, and see how the old speakers work as surrounds. If you have a CRT TV, remember that a center speaker really has to be magnetically shielded. If it is shielded, I am sure a single 1B would make an excellent center.

With either of those receivers, you can divert the LFE channel content to the mains, instead of to a dedicated sub. There is a preset "Center and surrounds small; mains large; no sub") which should work just fine. The 4Ts will be well up to the task.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Highlands Ranch, CO USA

Post Number: 395
Registered: Dec-03
Sem:

I am really happy that I was able to help you in some way. I have never purchased from Saturday Audio, but I have recommended them many times because I have spoken with them a number of times and have always received good advice and been offered excellent prices on gear I was interested in. One of these days, they will get my business. However, following up on Johnny's suggestion about the "bad box" offerings, I know DMC Electronics is a big dealer in these bad box PSBs. David, who runs the store, is also a good person who gives great service, as well. He also has factory "blems" which are often so slight, they have to point them out to you before you would ever see them (offered at great prices). I have become much more sanguine about blems since I had kids--they are going to scratch the speakers anyways, so I no longer worry about it. Check out his PSB specials at www.dmc-electronics.com.

Clearly, the PSB 4Ts are an excellent first step as you now have good stereo sound. I think the T742 would be an excellent next step--your stereo sound will improve even more over your Sony. Beyond that, if your budget makes you choose between a center speaker or surrounds, I would join Johnny and John A. by suggesting that you get the center speaker--specifically, the 8C. As previously observed, a lot of the DVD dialogue comes from the center speaker, so you will get more from adding a center speaker than you will adding surrounds. The 8C is magnetically shielded and it is voice matched to the 4Ts, so it is a very good choice.

You may also wish to save a little on surrounds by getting the Image 1Bs for your surrounds, as well, instead of the 2Bs. If you were choosing between the two for your main speakers, I would definitely suggest the 2Bs, but for surrounds, I actually think the 1Bs are good enough and you can save a few bucks.

As for a sub, I have several in mind, but I need to know the size of your listening room. Specifically, give me the volume (width, depth and height). PSB makes a very good sub, but in these budget price ranges, I also like the Hsu Research STF line as a superb sub and great value. Most likely, given the bass extension of your mains, I would tend to recommend the Hsu STF-2, a 10" sub which goes for $399. The 4Ts have excellent bass extension and you will really need to find something a sub that has meaningful output below 30hz for a sub purchase to be worthwhile. So, in the meantime, I think John has a great suggestion for making do without the sub by using your 4Ts for the bass output.

Finally, let me say something about assmebling a system in pieces. I have found that when your budget is constricted, as mine is, buying in pieces is a great way to go. I am doing that myself as I now have the receiver I want and the center speaker (the mains arrived but did not fit the space right, so I had to order a different pair). The key is to have a game plan, which you clearly do, and I think your game plan is a very good one. When you are finished, you will have an excellent system that will provide you with many years of enjoyment. Buying in pieces also means you are able to buy better parts so that the final system will be significantly better than if you bought the whole system up front with the money then available. So, hang in there! You are off to a great start and you know where you are going, so keep at it.

Enjoy!
 

New member
Username: Blazer

Post Number: 10
Registered: Feb-04
Hey guys,

My cousin thought he'd "one up me" on my new HK 630 and went out, listened to, and bought a new NAD 763 this week. The store had it hooked up to PSB Image 3L/Rs, an 8c center and either 1Bs or the bi/di pole surounds (I forget). He liked the combo and is seriously considering buying the Images. I suggested he take a look at the PSB Stratus line or possibly wait for the new Images, I read about on another thread, to become available. But the current Image line can be found at some really great prices. My question is; With the NAD 763, are the Images a good match or would the Stratus silvers or Monitors be worth the extra casholla? Aslo has anyone heard when the new Image line may be available? Theie new look was what peaked my interest.
 

New member
Username: Vulture99

Post Number: 7
Registered: Feb-04
As far as the new PSB Images, I'm hoping for a center speaker that comes in a cherry finish to match my 5T's! Cosmetic, to be sure, but that's a major factor influencing the WAF :-)

Blazer, you mentioned their "new look" - have you seen pictures somewhere?
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 162
Registered: Dec-03
Hawk,

I am intrigued by the "factory blem" models you mentioned. I am going to get some PSB Image 10s fairly soon, and I think those prices listed on the DMC website are even better than Saturday Audio's "bad box" prices. What exactly does it mean "factory blem". I know you said that often times the blemish is often un-noticable, but will they allow you to call before you buy and determine exactly where the blemish is and how noticable it is? A blemish on the back of a surround speaker (which will likely be mounted on the wall) is not really a blemish in my mind. Definately something to keep in mind when it comes time for me to buy. Now I have three places I can look at (DMC, Saturday, and Kiefs)!

 

Bronze Member
Username: Blazer

Post Number: 12
Registered: Feb-04
Mike,
No pics but an earlier thread mentioned they've been introduced in Europe (I think) and have silver grills.
 

New member
Username: Sem

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-04
First of all, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. It really means a lot when a novice like myself can come here and get such honest and helpful information.

On some individual points, John A, my old (25 yrs) KLH are, I think, beyond the point where I'd want to spend any money on them. The foam around the woofers is.....gone, as in not there ;-) As I mentioned before perhaps some day I'll make them a project, but for now the PSB's sound just too nice to worry about the KLH's.

A couple guys, Hawk and Mike, have mentioned DMC and blems/refurbs. Right now, Saturday audio is offering unopened boxed pair of 1B's (thanks Johnny - great tip!!), and single 8C's, for the same price, ($199), that DMC is offering for blems, if I buy a receiver with them. NAD 742 refurb at DMC is $399, new NAD 742 at Saturday Audio is $449 - only $50 more, so I may go that route. But I will check into the "bad box" at both first - thanks.

As far as my room dimensions...the room is a finished family room (or rec room) in my basement. Demensions are approximately 26ft x 16ft with a 7 1/2ft ceiling. The catch is the listening/viewing area is quite a bit smaller, around 14ft x 16ft. I don't know if that's good or bad but it is what it is ;-)

Again, thanks so much for all the tips, you guys are the best!!
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 309
Registered: Dec-03
You are welcome, Sem.

I have just looked back over that original long thread, from last year. There is sometimes a good feeling, here, of being amongst virtual friends.

Good luck, and let us know what you do.
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