3 pairs of identical bookshelf speakers for 6.1 home theater?


New member
Username: Twochordcool

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-05
Hello everyone!

I am new here.

And it's been a long time since I put together a stereo / home theater.

And I can now afford to do it right - somewhat.

I have noticed that a lot of Dolby Digital receivers do something like 100 watts by 6, plus subwoofer - which I think is a good thing, I guess.

Anyhow, with it having identical watts for each channel, I have thought about purchasing 3 pairs of identical bookshelf speakers - one for each location - instead of buying floorstanding left and right, a specific center channel and specific rear surround speakers.

I have 2 main questions -

Is this a good or a bad idea?

If it is OK, what speakers would you recommend that I go with if I were going to spend between $200 and $400 a pair?

Bare in mind that I enjoy all kinds of music as well as movies.

I also acknowledge that I will probably have to buy a subwoofer.

Unregistered guest
If you're buying bookshelves, you will almost undoubtedly need a subwoofer. Many people like larger fronts for stereo music, or a bigger center channel for movie dialogue, but other than that, 6 identical speakers (of any size) is an ideal setup for timbre-matching. In that price range, I would check out the Ascend 170s, Energy C-3s, and speakers from PSB, Paradigm, and Tannoy, depending on what's available near you. Your own ears will be the best judge.

That being said, most of the receivers do not give ratings for "all channels driven," and the surrounds typically do only about 10% of the work unless you're listening to multichannel audio (DVD-A/SACD). And Watt/channel ratings are often exaggerated, especially on the brands and models found at big box stores like Circuit City and Best Buy. Harman Kardon is a notable exception, as they typically underrate their power.

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 937
Registered: Mar-05
I ditto everything ZZ wrote, with a special bias towards the Ascends, which I researched exhaustively and auditioned before ordering them, then took to a local audio shop to compare with their stock.

If you do a Google search you'll find reams of glowing reviews on them from both consumers and pros so to sum it up I'll just say that it's very hard to find truly negative reviews of them and especially hard to find anything nearly as good for up to twice as much as they go for. Assuming you like a very neutral, natural and open-sounding speaker of course---some folks prefer a brighter sound and are willing to sacrifice midrange accuracy for deeper bass extension. Jazz, classical and vocal-dominated music especially shine on the Ascends due to this midrange excellence.

Visit their website, ascendacoustics.com and also their users' forum at forum.ascendacoustics.com to see if there are any Ascend owners within driving range who'll let you come listen.

As for having 6 identical speakers, many people feel that this provides optimal timbre matching and is especially suited for SACD/DVD-A music. However if you are short on funds and don't do multichannel music much, I'd just buy a 3.1 setup for the time being (L/C/R + subwoofer).

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