Advice on new fronts for Onkyo HT-S770


Unregistered guest
I'm looking for advice on upgrading the front speakers on my Onkyo HS-S770 surround sound system to towers. The setup is fine for movies, but 75% of the time, I listen to music, and think I'd prefer using just the system's sub and a new set of front towers. I'd like to keep it under $500'ish.

PSB Alpha T - $399.00/pair
PSB Image 5T - $499.00/pair
PSB Image T45 - $529.00/pair
CSW Newton Series T100 - $329 (open box) again are these any good?
CSW Tower II - around $350 used (are these any good?) is an 8" woofer a good or bad thing?

Other ideas?

Is it better to go with the smaller, ligher Alpha T's or T45 to match the smaller onkyo speakers? Our currently living room is on the smaller side, but we're hoping to move sometime soon to somewhere bigger.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

here's the onkyo data:

Silver Member
Username: Stealth_c

Dublin, CA USA

Post Number: 232
Registered: Jan-05
I can't really comment too much on PSB, but they do make very good speakers.

I do however own a few CSW's. Generally speaking, the Newton series is significantly better built than the older models. The only real bonus the Tower II has over the T100 is that it has superior bass extension; since you will be using a sub though, it won't really matter too much. Conversely the T100 is more accurate and an easier load to drive for your receiver.

You might add Paradigm to your list of speakers to look into, as well as Athena.


Bronze Member
Username: Pbdr

Post Number: 20
Registered: Apr-05
I've heard very god things about the Ascend towers, so you might include those. They are a web only dealer and in your price ranges.

I have also heard very good things about the PSB t45/t55 speakers and doubt you can go wrong there.

I suggest you take whichever you can do an "in home trial" with first and see how they sound.

Silver Member
Username: Stealth_c

Dublin, CA USA

Post Number: 233
Registered: Jan-05
AFAIK Ascend has no towers, but their speakers are worth a look.

Unregistered guest
You might be able to find a pair of floorstanding Energy C-5s for ~$500 (though $550-600 is more realistic) that do a great job for movies and HT. You can definitely find the bookshelf C-3s for ~$400. I have not heard the Ascends to compare, but I have heard/read many good things about them on this site and others.

Unregistered guest
With the "in home trials," do they get you with shipping or can you really send them back, no questions asked?

I do have a local Cambridge Soundworks, which makes them appealing, but I don't know if the T100 will sound thin for music? Or if my amp will have trouble driving the Tower II's?


Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 730
Registered: Mar-05
Aperion is the only one that does free return shipping, but have not heard anywhere as many rave reviews on their speakers as Axiom and especially Ascend.

Ascend has extremely reasonable shipping rates, possibly the best in the industry. A pair of their CBM-170s ships anywhere in the US for just $12, actual UPS return shipping is probably about $15.

Keep in mind that with the exception of the big-box chains like Best Buy (which have crappy selection, quality, and prices anyway) any small independent audio store is going to charge you a 10-20% restock fee IF they even allow non-defective returns in the first place, which ends up being more than return shipping. Some might waive the restock fee only if you buy a floor demo.

Something you can also look into is go to the Ascend and Axiom websites and log onto their users' forum, where you might be able to find an owner in your area who'll let you come and listen. That's what sold me on the Ascends...10 minutes of awed listening in a guy's house about 30 miles from me!

Silver Member
Username: Stealth_c

Dublin, CA USA

Post Number: 234
Registered: Jan-05
The T100's shouldn't sound thin on music, but it depends on your tastes. Its bass extends down to about 65Hz, which is below the point where your sub should be taking over.

As for driving the Tower II, I wouldnt anticipate problems at normal volumes, but at fairly high volumes you *could* run into problems due to their lower impedance (6 ohms nominal).

Even though you aren't looking at bookshelves, I would suggest trying out the M80 and see how they suit your tastes. They will need some juice behind them, but they are superior to either floorstander IMO and cheaper too.

Just remember to listen to as many speakers as you resonably can.

Chabis BD
Unregistered guest
I recently replaced my long-enjoyed, but mismatched ADS speakers with two sets of T100s for center (2 speaker setup) and L & R mains.

My choice was based on several factors: For one I had a while back replaced my surround speakers with CS models. That, plus the fact that I was using a CS15 sub made the choice of additional CS speakers seem wise.

My mind was made up when the local CS store had a "Star Sale" -- an occasional event with amzing 1 day prices. The T100s were marked down from $499 to... $199 a pair. How could I not try them?

The sound in the showroom was amazingly airy and detailed, but did lack deep bottom. I fiqured, as commenters suggested above, that the sub would make up for that. How does it sound?

With care in setting the sub crossover and volume absolutely splendid. And, unlike my slightly bottom heavy ADSs, the T100 still sounds balanced for classical music while combined with the sub at the proper .1 level.

In a word these are a GREAT choice. But that $199 price is the clincher, and that'll be hard to come by.
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