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Deal Guru
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Feb 24, 2003
11100 posts
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Toronto
Maybe FS will have a pair of Energy RC-70s for $1000/pair like they did in the past.

Yes, these are "old" speakers but they sound really good for music and movies in my opinion.
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Mar 29, 2008
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I'm in a similar boat. I've been thinking about buying used and building a 5.1 system. I already have a receiver. It's hard to find a complete system used in the $1000-$1500 range.

My question is do the speakers all have to be the same brand? If I find a deal on a pair of Paradigm towers am I then "stuck" buying Paradigm surrounds, centre and sub as well? Or if I see a deal can I mix and match?
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Mar 6, 2003
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Ottawa
random pattern wrote:
Dec 23rd, 2012 9:55 pm
I'm in a similar boat. I've been thinking about buying used and building a 5.1 system. I already have a receiver. It's hard to find a complete system used in the $1000-$1500 range.

My question is do the speakers all have to be the same brand? If I find a deal on a pair of Paradigm towers am I then "stuck" buying Paradigm surrounds, centre and sub as well? Or if I see a deal can I mix and match?
My general rule of thumb:
- front speakers must match (preferably identical, if not then get a matching centre, same brand/model family for timbre matching)
- rear speakers should match (but if they don't that's usually fine because the sounds coming from the rear are often environmental or ambient)
- sub do not ever need to match (completely different brand is fine and sometimes even preferable), but they need to be compatible with the speakers you have (e.g they have enough frequency bandwidth to blend well with the speakers you choose). Some subs will work with any speaker because they are very linear and have good upper frequency linearity but some can only be matched to larger speakers because roll off at a low frequency

My preference for subs is to go with an Internet Direct company that specializes in subs (companies like SVS built their name on high performance high value subs). For speakers, going with specialty speaker companies like Paradigm, KEF, PSB, Definitive Technology is the way to go.
Deal Fanatic
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Jun 7, 2001
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Alberta
random pattern wrote:
Dec 23rd, 2012 9:55 pm
I'm in a similar boat. I've been thinking about buying used and building a 5.1 system. I already have a receiver. It's hard to find a complete system used in the $1000-$1500 range.

My question is do the speakers all have to be the same brand? If I find a deal on a pair of Paradigm towers am I then "stuck" buying Paradigm surrounds, centre and sub as well? Or if I see a deal can I mix and match?
Well, the front three have to match...so all three speakers need to be the same series....same tweeter and same woofer. Matching the front three to the rears is not as critical IMO....if you want to be perfect or close to it, the surrounds should be the same series. I have Paradigm Reference Studio/60 mains, CC-450 centre and Studio/20 rears....all of them are the same version. Different versions of the same make and model will likely sound different.

The sub doesn't have to be the same series...it's the wildcard. As long as it's goes low and deep without distortion, it should be good enough. Good subs go to at least 25 Hz with a good pop (95-100+ dB)....or at least 90 dB at 20 Hz....not too many budget priced subs can hit these numbers. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... n_US#gid=0
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Aug 21, 2009
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West Vancouver
I'm hoping you already know this, but when it comes to speakers, you can get both excellent quality and buy Canadian which is always a nice combo! Check out PSB, Energy, Paradigm, Fidelity, Nuance, Rogue Wave, Totem Acoustic to name but a few. I have some PSBs that are almost 20 years old now and they're superb. Wish I was in the market right now like you, have fun!
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Aug 7, 2007
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Bolton
All depends how big of a speaker set you want. I like KEF's and my second choice would be Orb Speakers.

http://www.orbaudio.com

For larger set I would recommend Paradigm.
Deal Guru
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Feb 24, 2003
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Toronto
kottmeier wrote:
Dec 24th, 2012 12:09 am
I'm hoping you already know this, but when it comes to speakers, you can get both excellent quality and buy Canadian which is always a nice combo! Check out PSB, Energy, Paradigm, Fidelity, Nuance, Rogue Wave, Totem Acoustic to name but a few. I have some PSBs that are almost 20 years old now and they're superb. Wish I was in the market right now like you, have fun!
Unfortunately, some Canadian speaker companies now make some of their models in China.
Deal Addict
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Mar 29, 2008
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Thanks for the education and tips!

This is great because I always see (what I think) are good deals on Canuck Audio Mart, but they're rarely packages - at least not in my price range.
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Aug 21, 2009
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audit13 wrote:
Dec 24th, 2012 8:40 am
Unfortunately, some Canadian speaker companies now make some of their models in China.
I've heard that as well. Nothing against Chinese made stuff but I'll seek out Canadian made speakers when I next buy.
Deal Guru
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kottmeier wrote:
Dec 24th, 2012 2:41 pm
I've heard that as well. Nothing against Chinese made stuff but I'll seek out Canadian made speakers when I next buy.
Paradigm has their lower-end speakers made in China while their high-end models are still made in Canada.

Depending on the price point, Canadian-made speakers are out of reach for some buyers.
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Aug 19, 2007
1761 posts
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Mississauga
audit13 wrote:
Dec 24th, 2012 2:49 pm
Paradigm has their lower-end speakers made in China while their high-end models are still made in Canada.

Depending on the price point, Canadian-made speakers are out of reach for some buyers.
While its true they are made in Chine, they are still (at least) based and designed in Canada. Lose out on some manufacturing jobs but at least its still "Canadian"
Sr. Member
Aug 12, 2011
531 posts
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Well, since OP wants a 7.1 system... This post might not apply.

But... I'm fond of having a home theatre experience myself.

And... Believe it or not, I have a 2.0 system that beats the heck out of any 5.1 system out there, especially for watching movies!

Here's how I do it... First off, get SRS Audio Sandbox (old version) or SRS HD Audio Lab (they just changed the name, same software).

What it does is modify the sound output, so the sound sounds richer/way better.

Next, get Creative T20 2.0 speaker system for $99 CAD. This is a 2.0 system that doesn't have any noise distortion whatsoever (that humming/buzzing noise that poorer quality speakers have when there is no music playing). Also, this is a 2.0 system, but WOW the built in subwoofer in each speaker does an amazing job at delivering bass without shaking the room...

Next, I set the SRS Audio Sandbox (or HD Audio Lab) sound output to TruSurround XT sound.

My Dad has a 5.1 system and I can't tell the difference when I set my 2.0 Creative speakers to TruSurround XT thru Audio Sandbox!

So, there you have it! You have a 2.0 system together with SRS software (total cost ~$140) sounds just as good as my Dad's expensive $2.5K 5.1 system, and way better than any $500 5.1 system out there. It is b/c Creative is specialist in sound engineering... And so is SRS (you often find SRS technology in Sony TV's). When you add speaker specialist (Creative) to sound specialist (SRS), you get synergy (means 2+2 = 8 not 4!) Means $99 dollar speakers + $20 dollars SRS sound modification software = $2.5K listening experience thru "synergy" of technical sound specializations!
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Aug 19, 2007
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pattern39 wrote:
Dec 25th, 2012 1:17 am
Well, since OP wants a 7.1 system... This post might not apply.

But... I'm fond of having a home theatre experience myself.

And... Believe it or not, I have a 2.0 system that beats the heck out of any 5.1 system out there, especially for watching movies!

Here's how I do it... First off, get SRS Audio Sandbox (old version) or SRS HD Audio Lab (they just changed the name, same software).

What it does is modify the sound output, so the sound sounds richer/way better.

Next, get Creative T20 2.0 speaker system for $99 CAD. This is a 2.0 system that doesn't have any noise distortion whatsoever (that humming/buzzing noise that poorer quality speakers have when there is no music playing). Also, this is a 2.0 system, but WOW the built in subwoofer in each speaker does an amazing job at delivering bass without shaking the room...

Next, I set the SRS Audio Sandbox (or HD Audio Lab) sound output to TruSurround XT sound.

My Dad has a 5.1 system and I can't tell the difference when I set my 2.0 Creative speakers to TruSurround XT thru Audio Sandbox!

So, there you have it! You have a 2.0 system together with SRS software (total cost ~$140) sounds just as good as my Dad's expensive $2.5K 5.1 system, and way better than any $500 5.1 system out there. It is b/c Creative is specialist in sound engineering... And so is SRS (you often find SRS technology in Sony TV's). When you add speaker specialist (Creative) to sound specialist (SRS), you get synergy (means 2+2 = 8 not 4!) Means $99 dollar speakers + $20 dollars SRS sound modification software = $2.5K listening experience thru "synergy" of technical sound specializations!
I have some magic beans to sell you too.

But seriously. I'm very sceptical. First, what do you mean get "SRS Audio". Are we talking computer audio here? Second, there is no way that you'll get better surround sound from 2 speakers as you would from 5 or 7 unless you have a perfectly designed room for acoustics.
Sr. Member
Aug 12, 2011
531 posts
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fido1984 wrote:
Dec 25th, 2012 2:33 am
I have some magic beans to sell you too.

But seriously. I'm very sceptical. First, what do you mean get "SRS Audio". Are we talking computer audio here? Second, there is no way that you'll get better surround sound from 2 speakers as you would from 5 or 7 unless you have a perfectly designed room for acoustics.
I'm not joking. I meant you look at Creative, all they do is make speakers/sound cards. You'd think that after 20+ years, they'd know what they are doing!

Their T20 speakers is simply the best. When you turn up the volume, there's no hissing sound (caused by 60Hz power frequency). That's how good they are!

But I have to admid, without SRS Audio, the Creative T20 speakers sound like crap, just like every other speakers (except without the distortion, a.k.a. hissing noise, of course).

It's when you add the SRS Audio application that you get a listening experience equal or better than expensive 5.1 systems. By expensive, I mean $500-$2.5k systems.

The SRS Audio application adds the "missing pieces" to the sound output to make the listening experience richer!


And lastly, since the T20 is a 2.0 system, they've added a "subwoofer" to each speaker. I was quite surprised that the "system" can deliver the bass of an external $250+ subwoofer. It has the "thump", but the catch is, it doesn't shake the room b/c of its size (which is a good thing actually if you want to "enclose" the sound to a personal listening experience, sort to speak). And oh yeah, the T20 can't match an external subwoofer on its own, once again, you also need the SRS Audio to enrich the bass.

Another point is, since there is a "subwoofer" in each speaker, you sort of get "stereo" bass, instead of "mono" bass inherent with 5.1 and 7.1 systems that only has one main subwoofer. Maybe it's the stereo bass sounding that's got me thinking it's better than any 5.1 systems out there...
Deal Addict
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Aug 19, 2007
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Mississauga
pattern39 wrote:
Dec 25th, 2012 10:39 am
I'm not joking. I meant you look at Creative, all they do is make speakers/sound cards. You'd think that after 20+ years, they'd know what they are doing!

Their T20 speakers is simply the best. When you turn up the volume, there's no hissing sound (caused by 60Hz power frequency). That's how good they are!

But I have to admid, without SRS Audio, the Creative T20 speakers sound like crap, just like every other speakers (except without the distortion, a.k.a. hissing noise, of course).

It's when you add the SRS Audio application that you get a listening experience equal or better than expensive 5.1 systems. By expensive, I mean $500-$2.5k systems.

The SRS Audio application adds the "missing pieces" to the sound output to make the listening experience richer!


And lastly, since the T20 is a 2.0 system, they've added a "subwoofer" to each speaker. I was quite surprised that the "system" can deliver the bass of an external $250+ subwoofer. It has the "thump", but the catch is, it doesn't shake the room b/c of its size (which is a good thing actually if you want to "enclose" the sound to a personal listening experience, sort to speak). And oh yeah, the T20 can't match an external subwoofer on its own, once again, you also need the SRS Audio to enrich the bass.

Another point is, since there is a "subwoofer" in each speaker, you sort of get "stereo" bass, instead of "mono" bass inherent with 5.1 and 7.1 systems that only has one main subwoofer. Maybe it's the stereo bass sounding that's got me thinking it's better than any 5.1 systems out there...
The nature of bass makes it so its neither "Stereo" nor "mono" it fills the room and if placed correctly, you never know where its coming from. I'm not debating that they know what they're doing, but at a 99$ price point, Im very skeptical that the material used would be able to compete with more expensive products. Its not always the case, but with certain companies, you do get what you pay for. However, I am curious to test them.

Also, I apologize for not doing my own research, but I am lazy. This SRS Audio you're talking about, I'm assuming its computer based and thus the sound is coming from a PC and not a receiver or tv...how does that work for cable? dvd player?...
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