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  Topic Review (Newest First)
2011-01-14 09:41 AM
cogitech Received the Precision Acoustics HDS10 subwoofer last night.

This is quite possibly the best $99 I have spent thus far on audio gear. Based on the 35hz low-end listed in the specs, I was skeptical about how it would perform for LFE in movies, etc.

I tested it with LOTR:FOTR, well-known scene near the beginning where Sauron is "destroyed" in the battle and the LFE kicks into that buuuuuuuuh sound. The PA HDS10 handled it like a champ and I am pretty sure the neighbours felt it. Watching Corrie recorded from OTA in DD, I could literally feel the "traffic" going by outside the shops, etc. When doors to shops opened, the entire ambiance in my living room changed. What more could I ask from a sub's LFE performance?

I also tested it all evening on pretty much every type of music in my FLAC and DTS library, including a bunch of XRCD audiofile samplers. After tuning the crossover to blend with my LR at about 60-65hz and adjusting the volume on the sub, I was able to achieve incredibly smooth, accurate bass response from the setup. Rock, jazz, classical, reggae... it all sounds wonderful. I noticed that the sub got a little bouncy and pronounced if I ran the crossover up to 100hz and beyond, but when limited to the lower end as I have it, it is very smooth and the upper bass of my PSBs is very fast and accurate. A great match, IMO.

As I said, for $99 (including shipping) I think this sub is absolutely incredible value and it easily replaces the (borrowed) Kenwood 103SW, which I have no qualms about returning now.

The PA HDC (centre) continues to impress me as well.

I repeat, these PA speakers are not white van specials. Not even close.
2011-01-10 05:10 PM
cogitech Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I just have to say that PA speakers are far better than "white vans", and people in this thread have been too hard on them, IMO.

I recently bought the PA centre from BB for $89 and it sounds excellent in my setup between my PSB Image fronts. Based on my experience with the centre, I just ordered the 10" sub for $99. One reviewer said he likes it as much as his PSB subsonic 5i ($450), so even if it is 80% as good it'll be well worth the $$. Time will tell.

When it comes to plain stereo (2 channel) music, I think spending some extra money to go with a higher-end name makes a lot of sense, which is why I started with PSB fronts (love them!) so I can agree with the advice here in that respect. For movies and games, I feel this is (personally) less important, and as I said, the PA centre channel easily keeps up with the rest of my system for those applications.

Unless you are really into multichannel music listening and need superior imaging throughout the entire system for that application, I see nothing wrong with "finishing off" a surround setup with the PAs. They sound far better than anyone here might imagine. Definitely better than "white van specials" or any of the ****e that comes with HT-in-a-box setups. If you can get them on sale, the performance/value ratio is very, very high (not unlike the aforementioned Insignias).

I'll report back on the PA sub and how it compares to my current (borrowed) Kenwood sub.
2009-02-17 09:52 PM
I can't say im regretting any decision I made so far...
All in all, this what counts, that you be happy with your set-up!

2009-02-17 09:31 PM
rileyparrish THANKS for all the input it has made me much more knowledgable if nothing else and in the end thats what counts.

Okay...I know you guys are all thinking I'm a n00b and that everything you say is just going through one ear and out the other, but let me explain myself. The Pioneer speakers I got used(2 towers/2 sats) for $60 obviously were not the retail price, they are maybe 8-10 years old MSRP around $400. They are all wooden, in mint condition and are HEAVY. Have any of you felt the weight or heard the PA centre? I KNOW it's dirt cheap but this is partially because they are made in Canada & the fact the largest box chain is their main distributor. It is a lot bigger than I thought and to me it sounds fine. The ONLY issue i had was not getting enough sound out of it at first, but I tweaked the volume settings in the reciever(individual for each speaker) and now it's fine. The voice is clear and I can hear everything that is going on just fine. I certainly don't need a sub, as I originally stated since I am in an apartment and still the bass it too much if I have the volume over 20, even though i set the treble to +6 and the bass to -6. I was watching "The Kingdom" and when the bullets started flying in this one scene I nearly jumped off my couch. When playing "Call of Duty 4" on Xbox 360 with the in-game Dolby 5.1 you can REALLY notice a difference, it's so awesome hearing all the game effects around you in real time. I can hear people walking behind me, where an explosion happens, etc. The PA bookshelf speakers are also fairly heavy(and look great as does the center) and put out nicely from what I can tell, i am using them as my L/R surrounds while I use the old Pioneers for my Rear L/R surrounds.

I just wanted to get everything set up as quickly as I could and see if I liked the sound or not. Either way the front towers are replaceable at no loss to me($60? comon). The PA centre IMO is just fine as are the bookshelves. I don't have a $500+ reciever and i really dont need one, so even If i did buy speakers that are higher quality I wouldn't be able to notice a difference unless i had two setups in my living room comparing both on the spot. I really do appreciate all the advice but what I should've done to begin with is just go on sound. My setup in my small living room fills my entire area with crystal clear sound with barely no power at all and i didn't end up paying much either. I also haven't even tried 7.1PCM yet! I have yet to buy my PS3 or get a new ATI video card which supports it. I have been listening to Dolby 5.1 on my HD box and regular Dolby/DTS 5.1 via coax off Blu-Rays from my PC and it is a HUGE difference to me. Again thanks for all the input but I can't say im regretting any decision I made so far...If i cranked the volume to defeaning levels im sure you could tell the diff between this setup and a higher end one but for my application it seems perfect so far.
2009-02-16 04:13 PM
7 Speakers: $175

Wow...but not in a good way.
Ouch ! I haven't noticed that! What is wrong with that picture?????????????????

Honestly, if you really want to go dirt cheap with your speakers, I would recommend you would go with the smallest package fluance has to offer: "Fluance AVHTB+ Surround Sound Home Theater 5 Speaker System" which at least were liked and recommended by a few DHC members. This is also a DHC sponsor which you can then review. Honestly, I haven't bought from them but was seriously considering until I get Polk's deals I couldn't avoid/refuse. Now, since this is on line and avoiding all of the middle man, I figure that you should at least get a lot more for the minimal amount of money you are willing to invest.

Hope this helps?
2009-02-16 03:04 PM
7 Speakers: $175
Wow...but not in a good way.
2009-02-16 02:57 PM
Don't be obsessed with 7 speakers. There is almost NO 7 channel material available. 90% of sound comes from the front 3 speakers so spend your money there. Go with a 5 chanel system to start.
I agree 100%

As far as speaker wire, I use nothing but 16 GA in my 14X15 room, and feel/hear absolutely no reason to upgrade to thicker wire for any of the runs.
2009-02-16 11:41 AM
Blue11 18 GA should work for runs under 30" as TEKNOKID and TLC pointed out. I went to Home Depot and got 100' of it for a good price. I don't recall exactly how much but I do remember thinking to myself that the price is really good compared to BB or FS prices. The longest run I have is 20" at home and I have quite a bit more (around 40-50') remaining.

I would really urge you to reconsider your choice for the centre channel. I know the price is really good for PA, and like TLC said, it's a very important speaker considering what role it plays in a 5.1 or 7.1 set up. You may also want to consider how it's matched to your mains as well. It may not be a good match for the mains you got. The sound panning across your R/C/L channels may be off considering the speakers you have.

In the end, it is up to you and I hope that you consider what has been said so far. One of the worst things that could happen would be to spending money on pieces that in a month or so you'd be looking to upgrade.
2009-02-15 10:47 AM
ScooterMcTavish The Athenas are a very good value for the money - especially at $150 for a set of F1s with the centre.

IMHO, the centre is a little weak compared to others I have heard, but through feeding a little more signal to them, it can be mixed up into the system.

I agree with TLC on the PA speakers - I have owned SoundStage ones (same builder I believe) and for their new price, you could get a used centre of 3x the quality.
2009-02-15 08:58 AM
Toolatecrew 1 As mentioned above 18 ga is "OK" if runs are short. Its not about how much power is running through them its about impedance/resistance which increases as the length gets longer. If you need more wire buy 14 ga and use the 14 ga for the longer runs. DO NOT buy the wire from Best Buy its a rip off. 14 ga wire from home depot will be just as good. Ordering it from a place like Monoprice is even less expensive but I can understand if you only need some short peices.
2. Why the coninued obsession with the precision Acoustics speakers. The center speaker is the most important speaker in the whole bunch for movies as all the dialog comes out of there. Have you LISTENED to the PA center?
3. Don't be obsessed with 7 speakers. There is almost NO 7 channel material available. 90% of sound comes from the front 3 speakers so spend your money there. Go with a 5 chanel system to start. If you upgrade some speakers down the road you can always move those cheap Pioneer bookshelves to the back where there is very little sound anyways.

I'd suggest either looking afor a $100-$150 good quality center used maybe from a manufacturer you think you might buy centers from later like JBL since Best Buy sells that brand. FS has a Mission center on web only sale for $120 M3C1I) that will be much much better and you could build around in the future.

Anoter option if you want to go new would be to buy the JBL Balboa10 bookshelf speakers on sale at BB online for 120$. Use 1 speaker as a center channel and put the other in the back and run a 6 speakers system. Then down the road you could upgrade the speakers as you come across deals.
2009-02-14 04:38 PM
TECHNOKID If you look at this discussion: you will find this link: and by calculating you will notice that anything below 35’ with an average 100 watts or below channel that your lost remains below 1 db therefore, if your if you have enough of that 18 gage wire left, you don’t need to buy anything else. On the other hand if you need to buy some, go with some 14 gage and use for the longer lengths.
2009-02-14 02:21 PM
rileyparrish Just wanted to give you guys an update, I ended up getting the Sony STR-DG720. I got it for a good price($249) which was less than half the price of the Onkyo 606 at it's best sale price($524.99), and the Sony STR-DG820 actually went up in price so that was also out of the question($499-$537.99). I was going to get a PS3 anyway so while I don't have the onboard decoding I can still enjoy the same(or nearly the same depending if you think bitstreaming IS superior to LPCM) uncompressed audio tracks with my Blu-Ray movies.

Now for speakers, I ended up getting (what i think was a good deal) used Pioneer towers & 2 Pioneer bookshelves for $60. I was looking to spend a little more on a used set but figured hey if they sound like crap it's not a big loss(or i could buy more expensive towers and use them for rears or whatever). I hooked the 2 towers up as my L/R Fronts, and the 2 rears as my L/R Surrounds. I am getting the Precision Acoustics center & a set of bookshelves for $110 total today since they are both on sale. I dont know what model of speakers these were(the ones I got already) but the towers I was told have 10" sub's in them and at stock settings they put out some really nice bass. All-around the audio sounds great to me, I didn't turn it up too high since it wasn't until 12AM I got it all set up but I was pleased. Now granted, i am coming from 19 years of nothing but TV stereo sound. I will go buy the other speakers and hook it up in a 7-channel configuration tonight to see what it's like, and like I said while I've barely spent any money it sounds REALLY good to me so far.

ONLY question I have is about speaker wire gauge. The Towers are rated for 200W(not sure if it's peak or RMS, peak im assuming...they won't ever be turned up 1/2 that loud anyway) and I am using 18-gauge right now(the speakers came with a roll). I am also using 18-gauge for the two rears. What should I actually be using? I will pick some more up today from Best Buy. Thanks!

If i get what I want today this will be in total what I've spent for a 7.1 system:

Reciever: $250
7 Speakers: $175
ExtraWire: ?
2009-02-11 10:18 PM
rileyparrish OR if that doesnt come through(this might be better anyway)

TWO Polk Audio RT8 Towers with matching centre channel (model??) for $300!
2009-02-11 06:51 PM
Toolatecrew I have not heard them myself but from the reviews and the grenerally positive bang for buck feedback I hear about Athena I'd say its worth checking out.

I'd say $150 for that would be much better spent than on new speakers for same price at BB etc.
2009-02-11 04:24 PM
rileyparrish Hey Ive been thinking that it would be best to buy some used speakers online...there is a set of Athena F1 Towers with a Athena C1 Centre channel for $150 on BuySell Classifieds, should i go for this? They obviously are older but the retail price upon release was around $400/pair for the towers, and $180 for the centre
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