Speaker recommendations


I just bought an HK AVR525 and I'm looking for some front speakers. I currently have some vintage 1995 Yamaha NS-A836 speakers hooked up and they really sound terrible. I have just bought some Infinity Entra 2's for surround, Infinity Center and a Velodyne VX10 subwoofer. I'm considering some Axiom M40ti's or another set of Infinity's, the Entra 3. Cost to performance is a factor as my wife is already steamed about the cost of the previous items.


If you dont't want to spend a ton of money and want some great sound take a look and listen to the line up that Wharfdale has to offer. Look at wildwestelectronics.com or their home site. I've had mine over a year and love them. Sweet sound great highs. Similar to good Bostons at a third the price. Wild West gave me good service also. Only problem was I live in San Diego and had to go LA. to hear them. It was worth the drive. If I remember right they are rated at 200 watts plenty
for my 110 watt Yamaha. A friend has a pair of Yamaha speakers that sound like yours do, flat as pancake.

What do you listen to, how loud, Stereo mostly or HT mostly? Do you like a detailed subtle system or do you want the speakers to hurt you? Do you like a dry, instrument, transparent, "make the source to the work" sound or do you like a zingy, exciting sound? Do you have a large room or a small room? What type of music do you listen to most? I don't expect you to answer all of these questions but different people have different tastes and its hard to answer with so little information.

The short answer would be something like this; "Get something that matches your existing speakers.", but I don't think you are looking for that kind of answer.

Mr. Allen:

You are a great example of someone who has purchased some great individual units, but the whole is greatly inferior to the sum of the parts. I love the H/K receiver, but it has a very warm, laid back, sound. The problem is your Yamahas are the same way. Makes for a very boring sound. What you need is a set of front speakers which can provide some real sparkle!

My first suggestion is to move your Infinity Entras to the front and see if that improves your sound. If it does, and you like the sound, move the Yamahas to the surrounds. This will do for the time being. You can adjust later and your wife will not be upset because you haven't spent any money.

However, if you are not happy with the sound of the Entras as your main speakers, we will want to move those back to the surround positions and dump the Yamahas entirely as unsuitable for any application with the H/K receiver. If possible, you may wish to return your Infinity Entras and starting over.

Since you have floorstanders for the rears now, look into some KEF Q-3s for new front speakers. They are little more forward sounding than the Infinitys, hence a better match with your receiver and you can get them for about $485/pair. I would also recommend Klipsch RF-3 IIs, which is a very forward speaker, but should sound very good with your Harman/Kardon. They can be had for about $519/pr. Finally, I would look into Monitor Audio Bronze B4 speakers. They would also be a good combo with your receiver, and although I haven't priced them, I would expect them to be about the same amount as the other two recommended speakers.

Each of these systems are very reasonably priced and you can build upon them to complete your HT system. If possible, listen to them through a H/K 525. If your local dealer who has any of these speakers does not have H/K, take your receiver in and have him wire it directly to the speakers you want to audition, which a good dealer will gladly do for you. Also take in some CDs you know well and like to listen to and use them as your source material. HT is easy, it is stereo music that is the real challenge. If you get that right, the HT will be right.

Good luck.

It's me again. Derek is so right speakers are probably the most personnel item in your system. The Wharfdales sound good with my receiver, in my room, and with my sub and surrounds. Hawk is also correct when he says if you don't feel your getting enough life out of your very flat sounding Yamahas, Klipsch might be a very good alternative. Just remember, what they sound like in that sound room at the store and what they sound like in your living room are going to be two different

My room is 24x15 and I'm looking for a system to fill it with strong, clear audio. Among the recommendations above, would Polk,NHT,Axiom,JBL be a good match? Just trying to compile a list of bright speakers.
Anyone know why these Wharfedales are so cheap?
Wharfedale WH-STB87-BLK (Pr) Sapphire True Blue 87 Black - $199/pair

Wharfdales are relatively inexpensive for three reasons:

1. they use 15 mm particle board (MDF), instead of 19 mm particle board used by many other manufacturers for their speaker boxes;

2. They use a very simple cross-over instead of something more elaborate;

3. They have their speakers assembled in China, but then so are many Missions, KEFs and even NHTs.

It still comes down to whether you like the sound.

BTW, you might try checking out Ascend Acoustics (www.ascend acoustics.com). Their CM-170 speaker is very highly regarded, recently winning a "budget speaker shootout" on another forum, they are very reasonably priced, and they would probably match up well with your receiver.

Another choice would be the Aperion Audio Intimus system (www.aperionaudio.com). They are definitely on the brighter side and would work well with your receiver. Both Ascend and Aperion are internet only speaker companies where you try them for 30 days and if not completely satisfied, you get a full refund. Check them out on their websites.

You could save some money by staying with Infinity but I recommend you give Now Hear This a listen. They are very slightly bright but very even in thier sound. They should be able to bring any system to life.

Give Athena and Monitor Audio too. The Monitors are a little bright and the Athenas are relatively inexpensive.

Hope this helps.

I'm demoing a pair of JBL S312 right now lent to me by my neighbor. While they sound much better than the Yamaha's, they are also not quite what I'm looking for. They seem to lack midrange and high end clarity and punch. I'm going to listen to some Monitor Audio and Infinity Alpha 40. I will also take a look at Aperion, Athena and Ascend. Thanks for the advice.

Shouldnt you peoples be in the speaker forum?

Hawk, I hope you read this massage, I have purchase the pair of Magnepans 1.6QR speakers. That will go with my new NAD T762 when it comes in. I was at a store yesterday "Audio Advice" and he was familiar with this type of speakers and according to him. I have made a big mistake in purchasing these speakers and to try to mach them with the NAD receiver. According to him, the receiver is a good receiver, but it doesn't have the power to drive this type of speakers (he said I need at least 200). He thought that I will get a poor sound if I try to play them low and I could did not have enough power to drive them high. Another comment he made was on the positioning of the speakers. He said this was a one person speakers that if multiple people (family) wanted to get the experience of listening to quality music that this speakers will not be able to offered this experience. And last, that for low sounds like organ music this speakers can not carry the sound, that I need a mid speakers to do this and because that this speakers where fast I need a really fast mid speaker, and what ever I do, do not buy their mid speaker, that it just doesn't work.

This was really disheartening, to listen to someone just tell me in one year I will be looking for a new pair of speakers.

Please comment on this


Such is the problem with electrostatic flat panel speakers. They need considerable power and they only perform well from the midrange on up. No doubt, when they are driven with proper amplificationand mated with properly adjusted high quality self-powered subwoofers they can be great. BUT EXPENSIVE TO DO THIS.

If there is no way to return the Maggies without taking a monetary bath, try calling Magnepan for advice on what might be a reasonably priced recommendation.

But most (if not all) people who are Maggie fans are not bass freaks or organ pedal freaks. They love the sweetness of the sound and are willing to put up with the low range deficiencies---or have the wallet to compensate for the deficiencies.

DAllen... If you get a chance, check out some Def Techs. They're worth the look and money.

Does this mean that the NAD is not the right speakers? Please tell me it is not so. What type of sub self-powered subwoofers do I consider given what I have? The person told me it should be fast?

Hi G-Man

Sorry, I have another question, why do they have to be self-powered, do I not have enough power to drive a subwoofer?


Fred--don't panic. Your combination is just fine. The salesman was simply misleading you because he does not carry those two lines. It is, in fact, an old trick in the audio business to plant the seed of doubt in the consumer's mind that they may need something else to make their sound "right."

In fact, in my area, the Magnepan dealer sells three lines of receivers--Yamaha, NAD and McIntosh. He will not even sell a Yamaha with the Maggies, but he does recommend both the NAD and the McIntosh. Since the McIntosh sells for $4K, he ends up selling a lot of NADs to go with the Maggies. It is a wonderful combo.

I have already responded in another thread, so see my full response there. However, G-Man is wrong to suggest that the Maggies do not have good bass response. If he has heard these speakers, he would know that his generalization was simply untrue. As the review from Home Theater & Sound I quoted in my other response stated, the Magnepans have no more bass deficiency than any other speaker in HT applications.

However, there are a number of great self-powered subwoofers that you can get to augment your system for HT applications. Almost eveyone who has a full HT system gets a subwoofer to make those explosions rock the house. But don't buy anything until you have heard your new speakers driven by the NAD. I found I never needed a sub with my MMGs. If you do decide to get a subwoofer, get a powered sub which connects to the line-level subwoofer output on the receiver. Nobody buys an unpowered sub anymore because the powered sub gives you so much more control over the system and the sound. It does not reflect any shortcoming in the receiver's power.

Your last statement about mid speakers producing low organ notes is a bit confusing and I think the salesman confused you. I think you will find the 1.6s will produce the organ notes because I could do it on my smaller MMGs (I personally love Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 "Organ"--I have four different recordings of it). However, if you are looking to shake the house, then you will need to get a subwoofer. I will be happy to make recommendations, if you determine it is necessary.

However, the "mid speaker" you are talking about appears to be the center speaker in the HT set-up. This is not for low organ notes, but for dialogue when listening to DVDs in Dolby digital sound. The salesman is talking about an earlier Magnepan center speaker that Magnepan was electronically routing the bass info meant for the center channel to the front mains instead. However, that is noo longer true. It wasn't that the concept was wrong so much as it was causing confusion among consumers, especially when competing salesmen started "interpreting" what that meant (like the guy you ran into). In fact, the old center channel speaker was superb, but the new one, called the CC3 no longer re-routes the bass information and is quite good in its own right.

Fred, you aren't going to take a bath on this, but you won't know this until you have had a chance to put your system together. So, rather than become concerned about other people's opinions, wait until you have put the system together and then see what you think. Please understand that when people come upon new technology, many of them will make all kinds of uninformed assertions which are simply not true. You have been a victim of this. Get your system put together and then see what you think--don't worry about what other people think before you hear it, especially not from a saleman who doesn't carry Magnepans and wants you to panic over your purchase in hopes of your buying something different from him. I know you will be pleased once you have actually heard this system. I wish I could afford it for myself.


About the center speaker, SoundStage just published a review of the new Maggie center speaker used as a whole HT system. See the following review fo the CC3 system:


Ok guys, I bought a HK PA2000 for some front speaker thrashing. I like the MA Bronze B4, Infinity Alpha 40, and Klipsch RF3 II. Any thing I should look out for when using a pair of the above with the PA2000? I need powerful mids and highs. The bass is covered with my Velodyne VX10.

Fred, Eveything Hawk says that I know about is correct and really good advice. The store salesman sounds like an audio idiot. He wants to exploit your concern to get good value in order to make you feel bad about getting anything he hasn't sold you and taken commission on. I've met many like that. Find a good dealer who wants satisfied customers who will come back one day because they valued the service and advice, having found for themselves they made a good decision on the basis of that. Don't go back to that guy, he is a parasite. When you get your receiver, set it up with those speakers and listen. Play something familiar, and decide for yourself how it sounds.
Apart from the tosh about the power of the NAD T562 (it has loads), the give-away is the crap about a one-person setup. If you have a family, children benefit especially from quality sound; they hear more, understand more, learn more, and enjoy more. One of the pleasures of HT for me is getting our whole family together to share the experience, which they willingly do. And parents and older, street-wise siblings can share in a small child's delight in simple things. I am an old cynic, but sat and watched the Road to Eldorado with our small daughter recently, it is brilliant. There is a rock monster who appears near the end, lots of low frequency effects; our 4-yr-old daughter has to hide. The Lion King is coming out on DVD soon.

Being curious about Magnepan I checked the spec of the MG 1.6 on http://www.magnepan.com/ They go down to 40 Hz at -3 dB. That is real, deep bass territory, and all you need for serious music, including organ, Mahler, anything. There is almost no real instrument (including a bass guitar) that goes lower than that. If you use those as the main left and right speakers, you can choose "main speakers large, sub off" on the NAD and you will get fantastic bass. The LAST thing you will need to get to complete your HT system is a sub; when you have everything else right, you can add one to get right down to volcanoes and thunderstorms if you like, but the extra benefit will be small compared with having a fantastic basic system. With NAD/Magnepan, and without a sub, try the family and yourself with something like the opening sequence of The Fellowship of the Ring (extended version recommended for DTS and extra stuff). Mount Doom will shake the floor and scare you. I guarantee it.

Like Hawk, I wish I were in your shoes with that great system on its way!

I have listened to numerous Maggies. To me, most of them lack low end punch--although I do admit that they sound very sweet and toss out a wide soundstage---being the nature of ribbon speakers. If these Maggies go down to 40Hz, it certainly seems to me to be a low volume(db's)in the deep bass region in comparison to the rest of the speaker. Admittedly I haven't listened to them recently and maybe under close to ideal conditions when they are mated at the floor to enhance the bass vibrations they may improve dramatically in that area. Or maybe Magnepan has finally found an engineering answer to solid bass and can now play Bach's Organ Tocatta and Fugue without sounding like someone put the low pipes of the organ in another room. It could be that the two dealers I have heard Maggies at had them poorly set up. Who knows?

A further thought is to visit Magnepan.com Go to the Frequently asked questions (FAQ) area. It is extremely interesting in what they say, what they omit, and what they tap dance around so not to piss off dealers, cable and wire manufacturers, etc.

They are very upfront on the amplification issues (without being brand specific) on driving their 4 ohm speakers. And they are equally upfront about the importance of speaker placement.

The following taken from their site is interesting--

Q. Are Magneplanars good for home theater?

A. See our home theater section for a complete answer. In short, high resolution sound in home theater is not appreciated in a 5-10 minute demonstration. The typical home theater demonstration is short and full of crashes, explosions and other dramatic scenes. What Magneplanars can do for home theater will take at least 20 minutes or more into a movie. The process is subtle. High resolution sound does not call attention to itself. You become more immersed in the movie and don't realize until later that Magneplanars have a seductive quality on home theater that will increase over time.

The above is an wonderful example of tap dancing. Whether or not these speakers have the ability to possibly "resolve" sound better (in and of itself an almost meaningless term) than other speakers is debatable. Do they mean it has less distortion, more pleasing distortion, bigger soundfield, or what? They leave me with the impression that they think immersion in sound (big soundstage)is better than directionality--although the two aren't by necessity mutually exclusive. I wonder whether this "sound" philosophy is one born from previous belief many years ago or an after the fact realization that the nature of their speakers seems to perform with a large soundstage and a small degree of directionality:-) I doubt Tom Holman of THX fame (or George Lucas) will agree with their view, but everyone is allowed to disagree. And Lord knows, there is nothing more subjective in the A/V world than speakers.

Thank you all of you for your advice, I was feeling pretty down, but thanks to you guys I am back on top of the world. Could you recommend a subwoofer, I will wait until I get my system intall, but your suggestions it will give me time to do the necessary reading to feel comfortable when the times come to buy it. On the same breath, I do need a DVD player for both music and movies. Any good recommendations that will work with my NAD T762. I notice, that this new systems have fiver optic connectors, should I take this as a must?

Again, I want to thank all of you for your help,



I bought my NAD receiver partly because I was blown away by the new NAD T532 DVD player. Althought the box and controls are identical, it is worth paying the extra over the T512 DVD player because what is inside, 24-bit 96 kHz DACs that give amazing clarity for DVD and CD. The T532 will also do DTS 24/96 DVD-audio; the best of the best for sound, now. It will partner well with the T762 receiver. Connect with one standard fiber optic cable, that's all you need. The video seems excellent and clear to me, too, but I only have an oldish Sony CRT TV so I can't pass judgement on that.

G-Man Ð I have never heard or even seen a Magnepan speaker, I think they must be more common in N. America tha Europe, where I am. But I accept Hawk's comments, he knows what he is talking about. That bit you quoted from the Magnepan web site is not tap-dancing, it is telling it like it is. Any quality speaker manufacturer will say the same. A good dealer will let you try stuff at home, so you can really compare. No-one should buy speakers (any audio, really, but especially speakers) without auditioning, and you may have to make an appointment with the dealer. The problem with auditioning at the dealers is that it will take a long time to get used to the other equipment he hooks up. Even if it is the same as yours (and Fred has a chance with quality stuff like that) you will still spend most of the time adapting to the dealer's listening room.

In UK there is a ring of dealers called BADA who all take customers seriously, and whose advice is always good. I don't know if there is something like that in USA or Canada. (My BADA loyalty started with purchase of a Rega Planar 3 turntable in 1979; they have the same philosophy in 2003, and for HT).

You are right, G-Man, to be skeptical about things like "'resolve' sound better", but two things: 1. Go, listen, and compare; 2. There are also factors like transient response. Put a flute, violin or clarinet playing the same note through an oscilloscope and all the difference is there in the first tens of milliseconds when the note is first struck - the brain remembers that (if it was there) and identifies the instrument partly by what it remembers from that initial transient. Big booming speakers may be acceptable for bass guitar, which doesn't have much transient information anyway, but not for acoustic guitar, which has lots. A serious guitarist will listen to a good audio and probably be able to tell what sort of instrument is playing and with what strings. Does it matter? Yes! Even if you don't play yourself, it is what the performer intended, and wanted you to hear. It is part of the experience.

Fred, again. I am glad we have cheered you up. I know how it feels. Subwoofers are a different game from normal speakers. Go and look at the speakers bulletin board. Choose a good dealer. Go back to the place you bought the Magnepans. Even ask Magnepan. But try the Magnepans first with no sub at all (main speakers large; sub off). Please post a brief note on what you hear! I have a good budget Gale sub I am happy with. If I had more diposable income I would think seriously about REL, which gets great reviews and says sensible things in its web site (www.rel.net). But the sub is NOT the critical part, in my opinion. Shaking the floor is shaking the floor. But it should be neutral and in BALANCE with the rest of the system, and have the control features (variable cross-over) to do that. It should provide downward bass EXTENSION, not just more volume. "Bass boost" is not what you want. In US Polk has a good name, there are many others. By coincidence my (conventional) front speakers' roll-off is -3 dB at 40 Hz, too, and my sub extends that down to 25 Hz and that is just fine. I leave the sub off for stereo. Some great DVD-audios are recorded in 5.0 (not 5.1), i.e. with no sub channel at all, because there is nothing at all down there in the original source.

Fred--There is no doubt that in non-stereo applications, or when not used as a center speaker-I prefer directional speakers over planar and ribbon speakers. I said that the Magnepan site wasn't tap dancing on the amp issue and the necessity of good room placement. I said they were tap-dancing in the Home Theatre question--or maybe they were nicely phrasing the obvious--they aren't very directional speakers, which I happen to like, particularly in Home Theatre Apps.

In my upstairs home theatre I use British speakers---Monitor Audio G10's as both the two left and right fron and the two left and right rear surrounds, along with the Monitor Audio Gold Reference Center and a Monitor Audio 210 subwoofer. The sub is good, but in my opinion is the only part of the system that is less than superb. If the Maggie's were 8 ohm like these speakers, I am sure I would love to have their center channel speaker, where being bathed in a good soundstage trumps directionality by a lot.

That said, I love having 4 identical main speakers on stands and the G10's are easy to drive, sound great, not that finicky on placement (maybe due to the fact that you can plug and unplug the port in back of the speaker-whatever your sonic preference.) And they sound as good with my Pioneer Elite 49txi as they do with my much more expensive Aragon 2007 amp and the Aragon Soundstage A/V preamp.

I have heard the Maggies in both stereo and home theatre and I love them in stereo apps. In stereo, the directionality is adequate and the great soundstage and sweetness more than compensates. I love listening to Maggies in stereo--even with a center channel added while listening to orchestral and chamber music. I truly love them with non-electric instruments. And being a cellist since I was 8 years old I enjoy that.


I would also recommend the NAD 532 DVD player--it has all of the really good stuff for HT, progressive scan, 3:2 pulldown, etc., and it has dual power supplies for the audio and video sections, a real rarity that improves both sections.

As for a subwoofer, I have to agree with John Allen. Wait until you get your system up and running first, otherwise, you won't know what you might need. Generally speaking, good subwoofers can be had from Velodyne (who is the king of this category). Additionally, many audiophiles are truly in love with subwoofers from Hsu Research and SVS, both of which are internet sales only companies. Figure a budget first, then check them out.

Glad we cheered you up. I think you will be very pleased once you get everything there and hooked up.


I have lived with my MMGs and what is most appealing to me is that they do resolve the sound better than any other speaker I have ever heard. I compared them directly to some Paradigm Sudio 60s ($1400/pr) at a local dealer, which is supposed to be one of the best Paradigm has to offer. Yet, my MMGs were cleaner, I heard more sound (maybe a triangle in the background, a musician's toe tapping to the time, etc.), and the sound seems more realistic (i.e., more like a live performance) than I have heard through any other speakers. That is what I mean and what I think Magnepan means by "resolving the sound better."

I have heard that we as humans actually don't actually hear or see everything we think we do, but our brains "fill in the blanks" That may explain why we all hear things differently, I really don't know. Your Monitor Audio Gold 10s are very nice speakers and I can appreciate that you like them (I like them too). No product is the right one for everyone. But, I don't think Magnepan was "tap-dancing". I think they were speaking the gospel truth.

John Allen
G-man; that is a really great speaker system. G10s also have an LF limit at-3dB of 40Hz. Fred could get an MA 210 sub to go with the Magenpan 1.6 QRs, it goes to 25 Hz.
Your systems would then make a great A/B comparison. But I wouldn't lose sleep with either of them.
It would be fun to try the Bach suites for solo cello. With a solo instrument, anyone should be able to hear the better directionality you say is there with MA speakers.
BTW the bottom string on a cello, C, is 64 Hz.
Who needs a sub for music with main speakers like yours and Freds?
All the best.

I am ready to get the NAD 532 DVD player, but I was wondering if any of you have look at the reviews that Pioneer DV-563A is getting. What is this about SACD standard? I read a review where he are not overly exited about this SACD. As always I go to my newly trusted group of experts for advice. Again I can not thank you enough for the amount of help you guys have provided.

This is the web address where they speak about it


As soon as all this is put together I will certainly give you guys my humble opinion, but I am not sure how much stock I will put into anything I say. I just a fledgling when it comes to this kind of stuff.

Thank you



Are you old enough to remember the war between VHS and Beta formats. Well, the modern version is what new format of audio disc should we buy. Many people are lining up to support one of three different but incompatible audio formats: HDCD, SACD, and DVD-Audio. I have had days where I have gone to three different audio stores, and had three different formats pushed. Each has advantages over standard CDs and most of the time I can hear an improvement in the sound (but not always!). So I have taken the position that I will wait for someone else to fight this battle and wait to see who is the victor. Then, and only then, will I choose the winning side. As I write this, I would not say that SACD is a "standard." While HDCD may be faltering, SACD and DVD-Audio are just beginning to get off the ground and we are a long way from either of them establishing a new "standard."

SACD is a format that has a much wider frequency range (out to 88khz, instead of the CD standard 44 khz) than today's standard CD (this standard was set 25 years ago). Even granting that there is an improvement, much of it still is only the industry looking to get consumers to buy new copies of discs they already own on a new format.

John Allen
I am with Hawk, but I KNOW DVD-audio is amazing from the few disks I have. It is also more of an "open-source" type standard. The audio on a DVD-audio is either in DD or DTS, just like a video-DVD. DTS 24-bit, 96 kHz gives amazing sound, and any DVD player will reproduce it (thought you need a better one like the T532 to get the full signal). SACD is proprietary to Sony and Phillips, and they are pushing it hard, but any player with DD and DTS will already play audio-DVDs, so the market should be bigger, and the standard is at least as good. So if SACD wins, it will be on marketing clout by consumer electronics giants, not on technical standards.

BTW the 44 kHz on CD is the sampling frequency, not the frequency of the sound Ð that would be far above what human ears can hear. If sampling frequency is an issue, DTS at 96 kHz is even higher than SACD at 88.

Does anyone remember the Sony-Phillips CD slogan "perfect sound that lasts forever"? They are now pushing SACD, saying it is BETTER than CD Ð AND doing it with re-masterings of 60s and 70s analogue recordings! It makes you want to get out your turntable...

(BTW I have one SACD, Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan, an unplayable gift. The new vinyl pressing would have been my own choice...)

As far as DVD-Audio and SACD are concerned, I doubt there is an audible difference. There might be a slight measurable difference that isn't audible, but that is really guilding the lily. The "REAL" difference is how well the engineer "MIKED" the instruments and the microphone placement and mix.

This is why so many people hated most of the original CD's---the engineers hadn't the foggiest how to set up the microphones for good digital recordings. But given 2 excellent recording engineers I would take a CD, DVD-Audio, or SACD over the analogue rendition anyday. But one will occassionally find a great analogue master tape that makes a wonderful LP or CD transfer---but in general with all other things being equal the pure digital format of CD's, DVD's, or SACD's has a much better noise floor--doesn't degrade (unless you scratch the hell out of it)and has made my very large LP collection mostly obsolete :-(

DVD Audio disks cannot be played on all DVD players. A DVD player with DVD Audio capability is required. DVD (Video and Audio) also has a provision for 192 KHz sampling rate, but only in stereo. I don't think DTS does 192 at all. DTS does have a provision for lossless compression. Dolby Digital does not.

SACD, DTS and Dolby Digital are all proprietary systems. Produces and consumers pay licensing fees to use the systems. Dolby Labs very shrewdly got in there an made Dolby Digital the standard for DVD after replacing Dolby CX for Laserdiscs. Cha-ching!

Sony's SACD was simply too late to the game to make a dent and snobbishly started out with only two channels. Later Sony realized that they were leaving a lot of money on the table and brought out a multi-channel version.

Having said all that, Best Buy sells the Pioneer DV-563AS that is compatible with all three formats and has 3:2 pull down for only $179.

I thought the following might be germane to this discussion.

After talking to a couple of electrical engineer friends of mine they also informed me of a myth that seems to be rather rampant. The myth being that CD players are better at playing CD's than DVD players. Since both machines operate in the digital domain they both read 1's and 0's. They either read them or they don't read them. If your DVD player or your (pre-amp or receiver) has a good DAC, a DVD player will play a CD equally as well as a DVD to the same quality. If your DVD or CD player has an inferior DAC to your preamp or receiver (if they have one at all), then you can generally go through the menu's and order the set-up to employ the preferable DAC to your ears. But there aren't too many truly bad DAC's put into good DVD players or CD players anymore.

This is not to say that disc players don't have different tracking abilities. But this usually only comes into play on discs that are damaged to some degree. And one obviously pays more for players that have superior tracking ability.

John Allen
Yes, CD-only players offer no advantage over DVD players. I was always skeptical about improvements on CD sound, but the same old CDs on my new NAD T532 DVD player sound outstandingly clearer than on the Marantz CD-only player I used before (admittedly getting a bit old). I connect the analogue out (RCA) connectors on the DVD-player to the CD input on the NAD receiver. It seems to give the same sound as using a digital (coaxial or optical) connection, which is not surprising since the receiver and DVD player have the same DACs. In most cases you would choose the analogue (RCA) connection for stereo CD, but it depends on whether the player or the receiver has the better DACS.

Derek, I agree, but let's not get into analogue vs. digital! Into the 60s and even 70s there were apparently Japanese soldiers on remote Pacific Islands who would not surrender because no-one told them the war was over... I think the DTS 96 kHz sampling rate is overkill, but for whatever reason on my system there is still a great feeling of clarity in DTS 96 kHz /24-bit compared with CD 44 kHz/16-bit.

But in the end, sound itself is analogue. Storing the data to make it is certainly best done with digital encoding, it is safer. And yes, many recording engineers never learned where to put microphones in 50 years of stereo. Who knows what they will do with six channels or more.

What a great thread! I always enjoy exchanging views with John, Derek, and G-Man, all of whom are very knowledgeable.

IMO, I don't think it is a question of dedicated CD players sounding better than DVD players in playing CDs. Nor do I agree that it is all just "1s" and "0s" that are read and that all players read the same. The differences are in the conversion of the 1s and 0s to analog audio. Some players do a better job of resolving the sound, to borrow a phrase I heard recently. I read descriptions and reviews of products and I often see that a high-end maker of CD players such as Music Hall or Cambridge Audio may have a CD player that uses a Sony transport or a Panasonic transport. But these little guys always custom build the electronics in the CD players (or DVD players), and it can be very enjoyable as you realize how much better a CD player can sound. It is clear to me that the limiting factor in many home systems is the lousy electronics used in the CD player.

I currently have two dedicated CD players in my home. The first is a five year old Denon that is a mid-level unit at the time I bought it. I was convinced by a salesperson that there had been big improvements in CD players and it was time to get a new one. It has a very two dimensional (sp?) sound, IMO, as it probably has parts bin grade elctronics. I have given it to my daughter.

My other CD player is a 16 year old Kyocera (a brand most of you have probably never heard before, but they tried to break into the US market through the 1980s before packing it in and going back to Japan about 1991). My Kyocera was a top of the line unit that I bought for about $800 when I got it in 1987.

Well, head to head, the Kyocera blows the Denon away and it is still the best unit I have heard. It makes CDs sound great, the sound is very clear with plenty of "air" as they used to say. I really love it. But the biggest difference is the care in which the analogue section was designed and built. I am sure they both read the same 1s and 0s, but how it is converted to sound is entirely different.

It doesn't mean that the Denon has bad DACs or bad anything else--they are fine. But I have come to the conclusion that many of the mass market japanese electronics reach a certain level of good and they are satisfied with it. Instead, they want to sell you on features rather than finding ways to improve the sound. But for me, "good enough" generally isn't.

When DVD players first hit the market I looked at thier ability to play CDs in Audio Magazines' reviews (may they rest in piece). After a while I stopped because the reviews were boring. The DVDs requirements for low noise and frequency response created a box around threoretical specs that made CDs look like FM radio. You could no longer look at frequency response curves and tell what combination of analog and digital filters, oversampling, noise shaping or power supply isolation was used (Unless it used Pioneer's quircky Legato DACs). DVD players are that good. I gave up the fight long ago.

Hawk--I also derive a lot of enjoyment from reading yours and others well written and thought out opinions. Of course, I am a born skeptic and rarely believe anything that is written in the audiophile magazines as they have an enormous axe to grind. The main thing I like about Stereophile magazine are their graphs. I love reading their BS when a $4K CD player has inferior graphs to a $400 CD player and they come up with reason or reasons why the $4K one sounds better. Usually there are $3600 in reasons and many thousands in ad space reasons. They have a vested interest in protecting the pricing hierarchy.

Interconnects and speaker wires come to mind along with green magic markers on CD's improving sound. There isn't a member of the AES or EE community that buys into any of that BS.

I am of the opinion, if it cannot be measured and quantified, you can't say it exists and be believable. I am a scientist and believe in the scientific method.

There is a lot of emotion and personal vested interest (that most people aren't aware of) in liking one's higher priced CD player or new CD player better than the one you had before. I know I suffer from that syndrome and have to catch myself frequently by reminding myself to separate fact from belief in all areas of life--even beyond audio/video.

Sound and Vision is probably the only regularly published mag that is fairly straight. The sporadically published Audio Critic is probably the best. The rest of them are mostly like Health Food magazines---they are there to gin-up interest by using a lot of pseudo-science. Stuff that sounds like it may be true, but doesn't stand up to any scientific scrutiny. Hey--it is called marketting.

I love my Aragon amp (it is powerful and a work of art), but to be honest with everyone, my Pioneer Elite 49txi sounds exactly the same when hooked up to my Monitor Audio G10's. One advantage my Aragon amp and Aragon Soundstage preamp has is that it has the capability to pass through pure analog signals without altering them. It keeps them away from a DAC. And it keeps digital stuff in the digital domain whenever possible. So there is some improvement in these areas. But if I didn't have a friend that sold me the Aragon equipment at cost because he just got the representation and wanted to show Klipsch (the company that bought Mondial that owns Aragon)that he could move the product, I never would have bought the stuff. But it is beautiful--and that counts for something:-)

John Allen
Hawk, Derek, G-man; it is so interesting to read your views. I suspect we all agree on basic issues and values. There are many good speaker manufacturers, and different systems can be unique and if you build them up over time, with care; they become part of your personal history. You don't just throw the whole system away and buy a new one, all one brand. Systems evolve, and you get much better value that way, over time.

I just wonder if Fred is still listening and has tried his Magnepan speakers.... I had never heard of those until Hawk recommended them. And did DAllen get an answer to his original question about what speakers to buy?

To DAllen, personally I have stuck with KEF speakers and will go on doing that. Yes, it is partly subjective. There are many equally good makes. KEFs are not made in China, Hawk (see Aug 4) but in Maidstone, Kent, UK. Not that it matters. NAD now assembles in China, and why not. KEFs pass all tests for quality and sound. Also the company founder was a talented audio engineer, AES secretary, and the company purists are still running an independent outfit and keep with his values. Those "History" pages on speaker manufacturer web sites can tell you something about the philosophy. The B&W one is really amazing. But sometimes companies sell their names and the customer loyalty that goes with them (I think Wharfedale did that and the true founders left to start Castle; that does not mean Wharfedale are bad speakers) . Always be critical and try before you buy. But try Magnepan and Monitor Audio - and KEF - if you can. In any case, choose a manufacturer, not a brand.

It would be good to know what you find. In any case you will have something worth owning; it will last; it will give you great sound for decades. For what it's worth, my first pair of KEFs is from 1980, sounds great, is not for sale, and never will be.

Guys I have it narrowed down to the Kef Q5, Monitor Audio S6, or the Infinity Alpha 40 (maybe the 50). I could not listen to the Q5's with an HK amp so I'm wondering if they are bright enough to sound good with my system (HK525 + HKPA2000). I found a decent price for the Q5's $650 and Infinity 40 $555. But the local Monitor Audio dealer will not come lower than $889 for the s6's. Help! Is there a good dealer online somewhere? Would all of these make a good mate to my current amplifier?

I'm also considering the Axiom M60ti. A good match or not?

These guys don't know crap. Get yourself a good set of Bose and forget all the other babble in this thread. I've heard the Axiom M60 and they sound like a pair of speakers some guy made in his basement.

Could I get a more intelligent opinion?

I want to clear up an earlier statement that when 2 different speakers say they go down to 40HZ +/- 3 db's that they are the same in depth. Most often they aren't and they aren't for a good reason. The depth a speaker goes down can be dicey---as one speaker may go down to 40 HZ, but may only be able to do so at an output of 75 db's before the the distortion levels go skyward. Other speakers can go to 40 db's +/- 3 db's, but do so at 95 db's---in other words they may match the loudness of the midrange and tweeter better and often do.

This is why self-powered subwoofers of good quality are often very valuable. Using A $40 Radio SPL Meter you can make the speakers crossover to the subwoofer at 80Hz while adjusting the subwoofer to play down to 30 db's at the same SPL's as the rest of the system.

As a cellist since I was 8 years old I am quite aware of their Hz range and their timbre. But with tubas, basses, lots of DVD sound effects, etc. it is quite desirable to have a subwoofer that can cleanly and loudly go down to at least 30 db's. Plus it really liberates your other speakers to not have to play sounds below 80 Hz--in general--except in rare circumstances. This is also why having good bass management in different formats is so valuable.

Anyone who would recommend Bose over the brands you mentioned is an idiot. As the saying goes "no highs and no lows, it must be Bose"! $889 for the Monitor6 is a decent price from a retailer and is by far my favorite of the speakers you mentioned.If that is to much money listen to the Monitor Silver2. They list for $750 and I have a pair and love them. I am using them with an Elite vsx45 and they sound great and would also with the h/k525. My second favorite of your brands are the Kefs. Good luck.


I wanted to respond sooner, but the board has been having some real problems!

I think your proposed mating of the H/K 525 with the Monitor Audio Silver 6 is a great combo. For a better speaker price, try contacting Ed Hawkins (no relation--honest!) at Kief's Audio-Video. Try (785) 865-4337, ext. 109 or their website at www.kiefs.com. He also sells KEFs, which I do think would work fine with the 525. Ed is a great guy and provides super service.

Alternatively, rather than the Axioms, I like the Athena Audition AS-F2s which can be had for $600 from Audio Advisor. I had a chance to hear both together and I just liked the Athenas better. Seemed to be tighter and more focused, but I didn't spend a whole lot of time with them (1/2 hour). I don't mean to complicate your search, but if you are now looking at the Axioms, check out the Athenas.

John Allen
I agree with G-man about bass below 40 hz. It adds something. But if you have main speakers that go down to 40 Hz a subwoofer is not your main priority: you can feed the LFE channel through those and things will be fine.But if have only small speakers (many now have -3 dB at 80 Hz) you will definitely need a sub, even for cello. Wish I could test some Magnepans.
I've had problems posting here, too.

Well, folks I bought a set of Axiom M60s. They should arrive this week and I will let all concerned how they sound.
Hawk, I heard the Athena AS F2s and they sound pretty good. But I thought the Monitor Audio S6s were better as far as clarity and bass response. We'll see how the Axioms sound. At least if I don't like them I can send them back.


Thanks for the input. I value your opinion as I have not had the extended listening time I would have liked, so your input helps me, too.

I look forward to a complete evaluation of the Axioms!

Rock On!

John Allen
Congratulations, DAllen. Yes, let us know! They look great.
$800 on web site. US or Canadian?

Fred's view on Magnepan?

Hi Hawk. John Allen and G-man this is Fred, the guy you gingerly guided and help obtain a good sound system. I just what to say thank you, I could not have done it with out the help of nice people like you. This is what I ended up with

NAD T762
NAD 532 DVD player
Magnepans 1.6QR speakers

I have an old set of Infinity speakers I thought to use as rear speakers, but I notice a lot of his sounds coming out of the speaker box and the rubber part of the speakers it self deteriorated. So I will not use them as they are I spend what is a lot of money for a nice system and I do not what to have this noise ruin the quality of sound that the Magnepans give out. My first thought would be to go some where in the internet and buy the parts and replace it with all new parts, but before I do this I thought I will ask your advice once again.

I do not know the cost of replacing all the guts of the Infinity box, and would it be better to get a set of rear speakers that will compliment what I have, and if purchasing a new set of rear speakers, what is your recommendation. In the same line of thought I will like to get a good Subwoofers, again I do not know where to begin looking or what brand that will compliment my Magnepans.

Than you once again



How do you like your Velodyne Sub?
I have a HK AVR 325 and want to add that sub. Would you recommend them?



I was just thinking of you yesterday, wondering how the system turned out! I am really glad you like it (I am incredibly envious, too!).

Hey, as far as the rest of your system goes, why not go all the way with Maggies? I would look into a pair of the the Magnepan MGMC1s for the rear which are specifically designed as a rear HT speaker. Do you have a Magnepan dealer near you? If not, you can get them directly from Magnepan (check it out on their website as the "Special Offer--Part 2"). You can get them on a 30 day in home trial. If you do have a dealer near you, check them out, along with the new CC3 center speaker.

Subwoofer: I strongly recommend the Hsu Research VTF-2 or VTF-3, available on line directly from Dr. Hsu, one of the world's real experts on subwoofers. Check it out at www.hsuresearch.com.

Love hearing from you Fred!

John A.

I replied under "Speakers". Here it is again. Hawk knows lots. Re Magnepan, if you can get a home trial what is there to lose? such a manufacturer surely has real confidence in the product.

Here is my earlier post. Thanks!


Thanks for the update, it is good to hear. Yes, that is really great system. Congratulations. You have a first-class core to add things to. It is a reference.

I remember we had this question of the bass response of the Magnepans. How is that? Hawk was the Magnepan advocate and I was impressed with what he said and I read.

I really don't know about replacing parts in Infinity speakers.

I have a budget sub called a Gale 3080W, which I like, but I don't think it is sold in N. America. If I were in the position of wanting a quality sub to go with that lot, I would look hard at REL www.rel.net Apart from rave reviews, they are one of the few where you can easily switch between line-level and speaker-level input.

All my other speakers are KEFs and I personally like that maker. They have a new HT range. But Hawk may have some ideas about what goes especially well with Magnepans.

Subwoofer: I strongly recommend the Hsu Research VTF-2 or VTF-3, available on line directly from Dr. Hsu, one of the world's real experts on subwoofers. Check it out at www.hsuresearch.com.

Dr Hsu is way out of my budget! I was interested in the Sub DAllen said he has - Velodyne VX 10. Its available for as low ar $150, hence my interest!



For a low cost sub, I have not heard the Velodyne VX10, but it is made by a sub maker that I have the utmost respect for.

I also like the PSB SubZero-i a lot, which can be had for about $220 at DMC Electronics.

Finally, One Call has the Phase Tech Power 8 sub, which I think is an excellent unit for a budget sub. I bought one on special for $175. This unit is often available on a special from One Call, so you may wish to check on it from time to time.

Thanks Hawk. Phase Tech Power 8 is not on special now. The PSB SubZero-i is $70 more expensive has cosmetic blemishes as opposed to the Velodyne VX10 available at 6th Ave and and J&R for $149.

As an aside, the Velodyne specs state they down to 38Hz and the PSB goes down to 32Hz. Is that a big deal? I saw an Acoustic research 8in model at around the same price too.

As I have mentioned earlier, these measurements by the manufacturers are often very dicey. The Velodyne goes down to 38 Hz, but at what distortion level at the following db's, 75db, 85 db, and 95 db's. The same is true for the PSB. To answer your question as to which subwoofer may be better we would need to see the graphs plotting Hz against volume (SPL's or db's) and what distortion level is at each point.

I may be able to play a speaker down to 30 Hz at fairly low distortion at 75 db's, but the distortion may go off the charts when cranked up to loud listening levels.

This is why HSU subwoofers are so good. They excel at these test as does the PSB subsonic 5 and the subsonic 6.However-they are from the $350 to the $499 price point, which appears to be too expensive for you now.

So you need to call the tech depts. at these companies to get the information faxed or e-mailed to you on SPL/distortion at 30 Hz, 35 Hz, 40 Hz, 50 Hz. Then you can make an educated choice. Ideally, a subwoofer should be able to play smoothly (at the same SPL's) from 80 Hz down to its lower limit without the distortion going above 3% or so at its bottom end. Obviously the bottom end that this occurs is quite different from subwoofer to subwoofer and the abililty to play smoothly at the same volume throughout its frequency is a rare occurence.

Count me in. I am trying to decide between an AR S108PS which got great reviews on audioreview, and the Velodyne VX10, which I can't find much on. Lowest prices I have found for either is about $150 with shipping. Would like to hear from any informed opinions on these models.

How are Sony SAVE835ED speakers, Its got good reviews on www.audioreviews.com.Pls advice

How is the VX10 D Allen, or anybody? Thanks


I auditioned the VX10 yesterday at 6th Ave.
It is very muffled and indistinct.
I compared it with Velodyne CHT10, CHT12 and Definitive Technology SUB100TL.
They were definately much more distinct and the bass was tighter.
I dont think VX10 is worth the money.
PS: The source was 'The Eagles - Hell Freezes over' with Kenwood receiver and Paradigm Atoms fronts and Paradigm center.

I've been away from these forums recently but will repond to the VX10 question. I've had 3 subs in my possesion to include the VX10 Velodyne, PB10 JBL (PB12 as well), and Infinity EntraSub. I by far prefer the VX10. It (bass response) seems much tighter and will play at loud volumes without distortion. It is plenty for my 25x15 room. The JBL was "mushy" and huffed through the port in the side. The Infinity seemed very tight and less responsive. I have full range speakers and don't need the VX10 to provide the sole source of low frequency so it is not used at a high gain setting. HT or music it sounds great with my setup. Placement is critical for this sub as well.

About 15 years ago I bought an inexpensive (~$200) M&K subwoofer. I then borrowed two other friends inexpensive subs (one was a JBL the other a BIC) and was unhappy with all of them. It was undoubtedly very foolish of me to hook up a subwoofer at that price level with highly accurate and expensive ProAc Response 2's. I learned my lesson. I liked the ProAc's without the subwoofer infinitely more than with the subwoofer. That was until I got one of the original HSU subwoofers that were cylindrical--like many of the current SVS models.

The lesson learned: If you have an inexpensive speaker system you may be able to keep a similar quality of sound with some inexpensive subwoofers, but if you have very accurate and revealing speakers and mix them with a less precise subwoofer, it will lower the quality of the entire mix.

Hence, for those with good quality and revealing speakers that don't want to pay over $550 I recommend buying either the PSB subsonic 5 (~$350), the HSU VTF-2 ($499), or a couple of different SVS self-powered cylindrical models. Otherwise your good speakers end up sounding muddy.

I disagree with G-Mans last statement. I would not classify my axiom M60's as inexpensive and thus lacking in sound quality. They are in fact very good speakers and sound better than most speakers that cost much more. I will also say the Velodyne VX10 is not lacking in sound quality because is doesn't cost over $550. I think spending so much on a sub that may or may not sound better is foolish. It's always best to listen to the products themselves and not make pre-judgements based on how much an item may cost.

Operafan #1
Where is Fred?

Fred - could you please update in a bit of details what your experience with Mag + NAD system?

Anxious to hear from you, as I am also shopping for sound system for classical music. I went to a local dealer for Mag, and listened to Mag1.6. But the store did not have NAD T 752 I was looking for, and they used ARCAM receiver instead. Was a bit disappinted at how difficult to bring up the volume and to feel the sheer emotional journey when I tried my CD pieces Me Vlast by Smetana/Karajan, Der Ring Gotterdamerung' s Siegfred's Funeral March and others. Kissin's Bussoni/Bach Chaconne was Ok, showing enough sonority of a Steinway. But Richter's Bach WTC was rather muffled, maybe due to its earlier recording technology. To be honest, I like to clarity of sound for the most of time (I listened for about 40 min altogether there). But was kind of bothered by the low end presentation fidelity.

If 1.6 is like this, how would MMG be like?

Hawk - sorry that I still have doubts after this much of your education - we discussed under a thread I started.

Is it the ARCAM receiver that made Mag sound less superior?

John A.
I think Fred is away listening to music. He was last heard of in "Speakers"

Operafan, from your nice subjective report, it sounds like you really may be missing some bass extension, and, if so, I stand corrected. Dealers' listening rooms can take some time to get used to, of course.

Opera Fan #1:

Hey, you need not apologize for having doubts. I will say, however, that I don't think the Arcam is the best receiver to use to demo 1.6s. It simply doesn't have the power to drive them properly. The Arcam has 75 wpc, but the reason the low end was deficient was that the Arcam is a bit light-weight in this area. This is common to British designed electronics as English home listening rooms tend to be smaller, so they lighten up on the bass so it won't sound "boomy." If you have a chance to hear them again, listen to the 1.6s being driven by some good separates of 100 wpc or more.

This is doubly true inasmuch as the 1.6s need twice the power to drive them that the MMGs need. In short, I don't think you had a proper demonstration.

John A.

Here is the link to your nice and informative thread, with more on that topic for those who are interested.



Operafan #1
Wow - you guys are all night cats :) haha

Hawk - thanks for your confirmation. I doubted that it was due to the demo receiver. And I had lived in England for 3 years, and certainly understand their conservativeness - by their average personality and the size of house/rooms. The salesman told me they will get some new NAD receivers in this weekend, I will go their and try the correct combination.

Thanks again Hawk and John. It feels nice and warm to have perceptions and decisions validated and supported by so many experts.

John A.

There are these things called time zones...

It is morning twilight on the gods in Bayreuth.

It will be interesting to know if it sounds different with an NAD receiver. Even Hawk is not completely infallible, just close. Let us know. I think it would be easier to spot on your own thread, but this could be me.

In my case, you are right--I am a nightowl.

Any advice on matching a subwoofer to Maggie 1.5QR?
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