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n00baudiophile
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Help needed! KEF Q vs. Focal Chorus Vs. Klipsch Reference

So I made one mistake by buying a receiver based on specs and price without really researching it and now I am suffering from buyers remorse. But now that I have already purchased the receiver, I want to set it up that I feel kinda better about the whole thing. It has pretty much every feature that anyone could ask for. And at the price point, no receiver came close to offering as much. The present setup I have is as follows:

Harman/Kardon AVR - 171 ( http://eu.harmankardon.com/harman-kardon-product-detail_eu/hk-avr-171.html )
Onkyo D-3R floor standing speakers ( http://audio-database.com/ONKYO/speaker/d-3r-e.html )
Conrad HTS 322C Centre Speaker (No info available online in english but this what it says at the bottom of the speaker: 20 watts Max 40 watts, Peak Frequency Response 100 hz - 22000 hz, 8 ohms)
Klipsch Quintet II surround speakers ( http://www.klipsch.com/quintet-ii-home-theater-system/details )
Sony BDP S360 Blu-Ray Player
HD 1080i Set Top Box
Apple TV 3.0

I use the system for everything, but most of the time I watch movies. I chose the receiver because of it's bluetooth feature which allows me to stream music from my cell phone and MacBook Pro. The Apple TV does the same thing but I can stream video wirelessly as well. Which adds on to the buyers remorse because I could have gotten a better receiver and bluetooth would not have been a deal breaker like it was at the time.

I thought of selling it but I am getting no where as close as I paid for it. I live in Pakistan and the market for used goods here is terrible. The value goes down by at least 30% and then I won't have the funds to get a better receiver. So I thought that maybe if I upgrade the speakers, it will help. Before I jumped into buying speakers, I decided to do some research and that just confused me more than I was. I did not want to make the same mistake I made with the receiver. However, these are the following choices that I narrowed it down to:

KEF Q700 front, KEF Q-200 Center, KEF Q-400 Sub
Focal Chorus 714 Front, Focal Chorus CC-700 Center, Focal Chorus Sub-300 Sub
Klipsch RF-82 II Reference Series Front, Klipsch RC-62 II Center, Klipsch SW-112 Sub

In terms of cost, the klipsch are costing me more than the first two options but I started looking into klipsch since I already had the surrounds of klipsch. Other options also included polk audio and paradigm. I am looking for the best match with my receiver. The size of the room is 16X14 made of concrete which has a bed.

My budget is capped at $2500 for fronts, centre and sub.

Another question for any harman experts here is: The default auto setting for audio is usually always set to Harman NSP which is it's internal sound processing. However, when I watch anything on HD, it changes automatically to Dolby Digital. I understand the source signal gives me that, but if I switch the setting to anything else than the bass dies from my front speakers which are pretty good at bass reproduction. How can I change the setting to such that the bass is directed to the front full range speakers? I have the crossover set at LARGE for the front speakers, and 80 hz for centre and rear.

If you have read all of what I wrote, I sincerely thank you and I hope to find some peace of mind by some solid advice by the experts here. It will at least help me sleep better at night.

commsysman
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Speakers

That is quite a mixed bag of speakers...lol.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being audio perfection and 1 being a cheap set of Sony speakers, I would rate those choices as follows:

The Focal speakers; 7

The KEF speakers; 6

The Klipsch speakers; 2

IMO the Klipsch speakers are not good at all and ridiculously overpriced. Their treble gives me a headache, and the bass is excessive.

I am sure you would be happy with the Focal speakers; they are very good. They should sound about 300% better than what you have now. Your long-term goal should be to also get Focal speakers for the surrounds.

I am not familiar with the settings you have available, but I would turn ALL processing OFF and run all the speakers full-range. Their inherent low-frequency limits will be quite sufficient.

The SUB300 subwoofer has its own CROSSOVER control which can be set so that it operates only below 40-50 Hz or so. Adjust slightly by ear for best blending of the bass.

Connect the subwoofer terminals labelled "from amplifier" to the terminals of the front speakers; that is the best method.

n00baudiophile
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Thank you very much for

Thank you very much for replying. I appreciate your helpful response and at the same time, I apologise in advance since I would like to pick your brain a little bit more.

The first problem I am facing is that I am having a hard time to run all speakers with all processing OFF. I can't seem to find that option. I do have a stereo mode which gives me the option of 2 CH and 5 CH. Do you think that would be it? In that scenario, the bass diminishes drastically from the front speakers. The best bass is given to my by the receivers NSP (Natural Sound Processing).

I saw the terminals labelled 'from amplifier' but I couldn't understand that because then there were also other terminals that were marked 'to loudspeakers'. What my limited understanding dictated was that if I use the option 'from amplifier', I connect the wires directly to the amp where my L/R speaker wires are also plugged in. OR I take two wires each to the amplifier from the sub, and then take the loudspeaker wires from the sub directly by-passing the receiver completely for the L/R. Can you please help me understand?

My next question is about speaker cables. Does the quality of the speaker cable matter? I may be confusing speaker wires with HDMI cables because I know HDMI cables have no impact on quality if they are for $1 or $100. Is it the same with speaker wires? Also, how do I choose which speaker wires are the best?

And how much in percentage does bi-wiring make a difference in quality of the sound?

I also looked at Polk Audio RTiA7, Polk Audio CSiA6 Centre Speaker, Polk Audio DSWPro660wi. What are your thoughts on these in comparison to focal?

Thank you again!

audiophile2000
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Need to go Listen

So as commsysman said, that is a pretty wide range of speakers so would really suggest listening to them if you can. So i'll be honest klipsch is going to get a very bad response from most people on Stereophile but you will also find klipsch owners that rave regarding their speakers. My first pair of speakers was a pair of klipsch.

Here is my take on them. The speaker is very detailed and dynamic and can produce very very clean sounding highs. This ability to produce clean highs it what initially attracted me to the speaker since i found a lot of comparably priced speakers seemed to muffle the highs. It wasn't until I stepped into the 5 to 10k price range (for a pair of speakers) that I found a dome tweeter that I liked. Not saying the klipsch don't have their faults as they do, but they also have their strengths and for the price point i think they are very good and if your goal is home theater then they are truly amazing given their dynamics. Problems i found were the sound always was a bit metallic and i actually had a pair of RF-7s when i first purchased my sim audio front end and even then they still were a bit metallic but there were a few songs that were truly amazing on them.

I ended up switching to PSB Synchrony Ones and am glad i switched but i still think they were a great pair of speakers for their price.

basically the way I look at a pair of speakers or audio gear is by value. I want to get the most for my dollar so I am always looking for a product that hits above its weight class. I feel klipsch does do this as in general i found speakers i liked more than the Klipsch to cost 2 to 4 times more.

Also just to add in, a lot of people complain about Klipsch being bright and to a degree i think they are, but i also think part of the issue is do to improper setup and lack of room treatment.

In terms of the other two brands, both are great speaker companies and you probably can't go wrong, would also suggest looking at paradigm and PSB.

audiophile2000
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Wire Question

To answer your question, in my opinion speaker wire can make a slight difference, but remember its all relative. I would not suggest going out any buying 1000k cables for your system but would also not recommend taking lamp cord to wire the speakers. I would look for a decent pair of copper wires or just by some copper wire from bluejeans and terminate them yourself. While some would disagree, I think the improvements your talking with these tweaks are moderate if you are using decent stuff in the first place. In terms of bi-wiring, I don't think you are going to see a difference and bi-amping will not make a huge difference in my opinion. If your equipment can support it then i would probably just do it, but wouldn't pay more.

To give you a sense there are speakers north of 50k that only have one pair of binding post so its not critical.

hcsunshine
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for speaker wires...

i use 14 gauge.

bierfeldt
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Klipsch Reference Line

One thing about that Klipsch Reference line is that whenever I have heard them, I have found them to be extremely bright, to a point where it is painful. That being said, they are supposed to take 50 to 100 hours of playtime to burn in and sound good and I am certain I have never listened to them after proper burn in time. A few reviewers acknowledge this by saying that they turn the volume up to reference levels for a weekend and just leave. They may be good speakers, but it takes an awful long time to find out.

The Focal Chorus line sounds great with certainty. In a similar price range, the PSB image line is great. I like the Kef Q line, I don't love. You would probably get a better value with the Focal Chorus or PSB.

BTW...that HK receiver shouldn't deliver to much buyers remorse. They make a nice product.

commsysman
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n00baudiophile wrote:
n00baudiophile wrote:

Thank you very much for replying. I appreciate your helpful response and at the same time, I apologise in advance since I would like to pick your brain a little bit more.

The first problem I am facing is that I am having a hard time to run all speakers with all processing OFF. I can't seem to find that option. I do have a stereo mode which gives me the option of 2 CH and 5 CH. Do you think that would be it? In that scenario, the bass diminishes drastically from the front speakers. The best bass is given to my by the receivers NSP (Natural Sound Processing).

I saw the terminals labelled 'from amplifier' but I couldn't understand that because then there were also other terminals that were marked 'to loudspeakers'. What my limited understanding dictated was that if I use the option 'from amplifier', I connect the wires directly to the amp where my L/R speaker wires are also plugged in. OR I take two wires each to the amplifier from the sub, and then take the loudspeaker wires from the sub directly by-passing the receiver completely for the L/R. Can you please help me understand?

My next question is about speaker cables. Does the quality of the speaker cable matter? I may be confusing speaker wires with HDMI cables because I know HDMI cables have no impact on quality if they are for $1 or $100. Is it the same with speaker wires? Also, how do I choose which speaker wires are the best?

And how much in percentage does bi-wiring make a difference in quality of the sound?

I also looked at Polk Audio RTiA7, Polk Audio CSiA6 Centre Speaker, Polk Audio DSWPro660wi. What are your thoughts on these in comparison to focal?

Thank you again!

I don't know about the various modes on your receiver. You will have to try and see what works best with your chosen speakers. With a subwoofer, the bass will be a non-issue anyway.

One way of connecting the sub is to connect the amp to the "from amp" terminals and connect the speakers to the "to spkrs" terminals. This filters out the lows so they don't go to the speakers. I prefer to connect the front speakers directly to the amp and run them full-range, and then connect the speakers or amp (same thing) to the "from amplifier" terminals. The crossover knob on the sub will be used to determine the highest frequency at which it operates, which should be around 40-50 Hz with most speakers.

Speaker wires need to be 14 gauge pure copper wire, or heavier. Monoprice #2791 is what I recommend; 100 feet for $27. I recommend soldered spade lugs for terminating. Bi-wiring is only useful for certain very large speakers; forget about it. There is no advantage to high-priced cables that claim magic improvements. I use plain wire with my Vandersteen Treo speakers (which cost $6500). The sound is to die for.

The Polk speakers are definitely not as good as the Focal speakers, or the KEF or PSB speakers. Not recommended.

bierfeldt
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2ch or 5ch direct

3 potential things to consider:

1) I do not have a Harman audio receiver, but Denon, Marantz and Onkyo ship so that when processing is off, the subwoofer output is also turned off. There was a particular setting in my units that turns on the subwoofer output in direct mode. You need to turn that on and it will help if you have a subwoofer attached.

2) Check the internal crossover at that setting and make sure it is sending out the same signal. That is, if you have a subwoofer, make sure sub out is on and your low pass and high pass crossovers have the same settings as they do in other modes.

3) It just might be the way the recording is supposed to sound. I find that even with the subwoofer option turned on, I hear a relative reduction in base output in direct and pure direct (all processing off) modes vs Stereo. With all processing off, you get an unaltered analog signal that is either "direct" from an analog source with no alteration or direct from a DAC (could be on-board via HDMI or out-board via a CD player) also with no alteration other than digital signal interpretation. This is as close to how it was engineered in the studio as possible. This is usually a heck of a lot less bass than we are used to.

My experience is that most DSPs greatly enhance the bass level of music and give it a boomy sound. This is not necessarily what the audio engineer who mastered the recording intended.

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