Salk Experience - SongTower (RAAL) 5.0 System in Curly Walnut

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laulau

Now that I’ve had my speakers for a little while, I thought I would give back a little to the communities that helped me so much in my speaker upgrade.  Also, it doesn’t seem like there are very many ST reviews these days as most of the attention has shifted to the upscale lines, so I’m trying to do my small part to keep the regular ST series in the limelight as a viable option for those of us with thinner wallets.  Apologies for such a lengthy post, it started off being just a couple of paragraphs but then kept growing and growing.  I hope that anyone who is still in their search for speakers will be able to find some useful nuggets in it.

Starting Off
Having recently retired I decided that it was about time to treat myself to a complete upgrade of my HT system.   Over the years, my Klipsch Reference speaker system had performed pretty well for my home theater use and although Klipsch is often maligned for its musical performance, I thought Audyssey had done a very nice job of taming them enough for the occasional listening I was doing.  If nothing else, they performed well enough to start me thinking about doing some "serious" music listening again, something I hadn’t done since kids and family life had demanded most of my attention long, long ago.  I had planned to choose my speakers first then let the other components fall into place.  Well, as things worked out, I upgraded my electronic equipment first, then fretted over the speaker decision for far longer than I could’ve imagined. 

With my electronics taken care of, I made my requisite contact with my local brick and mortar audio stores.  Sad to say, but I found this whole experience rather disappointing.  The elitist attitude displayed by the upscale audio dealers caught me off-guard.  I was surprised by how quick they were to be dismissive and condescending about competitive brands rather than touting the positives of their own brands, IMO the equipment should be able to speak for itself.  Big turn-off.  In any case, I did manage to listen to various models of B&W, Martin Logan, DefTech, Klipsch, Dynaudio, Focal, Rega, PSB and others that I can’t recall the names of.  I found all but one of them lacking in one area or another, or just seemed meh to me for some reason. The only speakers that really caught my attention were the Dynaudio Focus series.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) a 5.0 set of the Focus would’ve taken me way over my budget so they were out of consideration.  Still, I think they are terrific sounding speakers with a nice clean midrange and forgiving upper end.  Being a little frustrated at this point, I was on the verge of just going ahead and  ordering a set of KEF R-series having never heard or seen them in person, but the KEF Direct site never had all the speakers I wanted in stock at the same time.  I took this as a sign that I should move on.

The Decision
Having struck out with my local dealers and the KEFs, I somewhat reluctantly started exploring the ID options.  Purchasing big ticket items when living so far away from the U.S. mainland requires taking a big leap of faith because, good or bad, I would in all likelihood end up keeping whatever I ordered.  Shipping costs for large items like speakers makes returning them unlikely, so I had the added pressure of getting this decision right the first time.  After reading threads and reviews until my eyes bled, I narrowed my initial list down to Selah, Vapor, Nola, Ascend, Aperion and Salk.  Then after more research I whittled the list down to my final 3 – Ascend, Aperion and Salk.  All 3 had advantages and disadvantages for various factors such as price, shipping, design, finishes and purported sound quality.  I wrestled with this decision for several weeks (months?) and was on the verge of going with the least expensive option (Aperion), but at the last second my wife (bless her) convinced me that I should go with the speakers that I really, really wanted, and not just go with what was expedient.  So, after reading every review and posting I could find, the one thing I decided on was that I had to have the RAAL ribbons.  Conveniently, that narrowed it down to the Ascends and Salk.  One nice thing about my two finalists was that both speaker lines are made in the USA, which satisfied one of my original goals for my upgrades (yes I know some of the parts are from other countries but sometimes you just do the best you can).  So, how to decide which one?  Since I would not be able to audition either speaker I couldn’t use sound quality as the deciding factor.  Other considerations such as size, pricing and the SQ of the center and surrounds ended up being pretty much a wash for me.  So oddly enough what had originally started off as being one of my lower level considerations ultimately ended up being the deciding factor – appearance/styling.  In the end I was drawn to Jim’s well documented craftsmanship and attention to detail.  After viewing the many images showing the beauty of his work, I finally made my decision to go with Salk for the entire 5.0 system: SongTowers with RAALs, SongCenter with RAAL and Song Surround I’s.  I chose the standard SongTowers (vs. the SCST) because I already own dual Rythmik F12 subwoofers and knew that I would be crossing the speakers over to the subs 95% of the time and therefore would not need the additional low end that the SCSTs provide…well that, and I wanted to save a few bucks (did I mention that shipping to Hawaii is expensive?).  In any case, I was relieved to have finally made the big decision, but little did I know that a really hard decision still lie ahead – which veneer/finish?  Although we considered many of the veneers (including some of the exotic woods) and suggestions from Jim, my family and I reached a consensus (after I nearly drove them crazy) that it was the standard curly walnut veneer that met the qualities that we were looking for.  Frankly, we were all a little surprised with the decision to go with the standard walnut since it wasn’t even on our radar at the beginning of the process.

I placed my order at the end of January and proceeded to monitor its progress on the Salk project tracking system.  I went through the same temporary states of elation and despair that most Salk customers do as they watch their projects progress and then seemingly stall through the various stages of the build.  At the time it all seemed to go painfully slow, but looking back now it doesn’t seem to have taken long at all.  The universal law that anxiety and anticipation makes time stand still, is definitely in effect here. 

The Look
I received my speakers via FEDEX on 4/12.  The packages were in relatively good shape with no holes or other signs of obvious physical damage.  Upon opening the boxes it was evident that the speakers were well packed, well organized and padded throughout.   I must say that this was the most well thought out packing job that I’ve ever seen.  Tip of the hat goes to the Salk packing/shipping folks.  So how did the speakers look?  As many Salk owners have said over and over, pictures don’t do justice to the actual speakers and those owners are absolutely right.  These babies are beautiful.  To my eye the walnut is very curly and Jim put a shot of dark walnut dye in the topcoat for some extra pop.  The shade of walnut blends in with our décor very nicely and the satin finish doesn’t produce any distracting glare when viewing Blu-rays and videos.  Even my wife, who is definitely not into speakers, has repeatedly commented on how good looking they are.  WAF is through the roof.  Unfortunately, the RAAL tweeter in the center channel did not survive the 4500 mile trip from Michigan.  A quick email to Jim and a replacement tweeter was on its way to me, and after a few days more it was in my hands.  It took less than 5 minutes to swap out the drivers and in no time at all I was back in business.  As a note, Jim paid for shipping both ways.  IMO, this is a real testament to the great customer service that Jim has a reputation for - no questions asked, no runaround – just a true eagerness to make me happy.  Good job Jim.


Revival of the FEDEX truck shot.


The boxes arrive.


The packing.



Continued in Part 2.

laulau

Part 2
The Sound
What about the sound quality?  In a word, fantastic.  But let’s backup a little and let me describe my main equipment.  I’m using a Denon 4520 as my prepro as well using it to drive the center and rear surrounds.  The front towers are driven by a D-Sonic M2-800S stereo Class D power amp.  As I said earlier, my subwoofers are dual Rythmik F12s.  My primary source devices are an Oppo BDP-93 for CDs and Blu-rays, and a WDTV Live Hub which I use to stream FLACs and video files to either the Oppo or Denon AVR.  My PC DLNA server and Xbox 360 are used less often.  My speaker test playlist (listed below for those who might be interested) includes tracks that I enjoy listening to and IMO, are well recorded and help to expose aspects of the speaker’s performance.  It’s obvious that my musical tastes leans heavily toward Jazz but I’ll occasionally listen to Pop, HipHop, Hawaiian and Classical when the mood strikes me.  I typically listen at 60-85db, occasionally going louder but not very often.  My primary listening area is approximately 2100 cu ft. including all the areas that can’t be closed off.

I’ve spent the last several weeks dialing-in the speakers by experimenting with placement, toe-in and multiple Audyssey calibration runs (XT32 is awesome).  My current setup (that I’m thrilled with) has the towers 1 foot away from the front wall, slightly toed-in and running in Stereo mode with Audyssey Flat EQ and DEQ enabled (@ 0db offset) and DVol and LFC disabled.  The LCRs are crossed over to the Rythmiks at 60Hz which are set at 14Hz/High Damping.  I think my room is fairly soft with carpeting, cushions and leather sofa.  One concern is the back wall which is untreated for now (waiting for WAF) but I’ll probably install some GIK art panels at some point. 

Listening Impressions (italicized text are my current go-to tracks for evaluating) -
Because I had opted for the RAAL tweeters, I was most eager to hear the upper range.  Well, what others have said many times is true, the upper range is amazing.  Even from the first disc that I listened to (Brian Bromberg – Wood) it was apparent that something special was going on, the clarity and airiness of the upper end was almost startling.   What strikes me is the level of detail present, and the how this seems to make the sounds linger a tiny bit longer.  Being able to hear cymbals and triangles shimmer and ring but never become harsh or sibilant is immensely gratifying (Fourplay - Tally Ho!).  Strings are well defined and textured, again with no detectable grating or harshness (Scott Hamilton - Goodbye Mr. Evans).  It’s actually a little difficult to describe exactly what the RAALs sound like since they don’t seem to impart their own sound into the music.  Detail and texture are present in abundance but the tweeters never seem to call attention to themselves.  Perhaps one way of describing it would be that to me all the dome tweeters that I’ve had experience with, ultimately sounded like a driver in a speaker, but with the RAALs, it’s as if the speakers aren’t there and the instruments simply exist within the soundstage.  Very impressive.  Count me as a ribbon fan.

As good as the RAAL tweeter is, I think I’m actually more taken with the midrange.  Maybe it’s because most of the fundamental musical action is happening in the midrange that it’s easier to notice, but wow it sounds great.  Well recorded male and female vocals are presented very cleanly with no honking or edginess (J.D. Souther - Silver Blue & Eva Cassidy - At Last).  Drums are snappy and punchy – I love hearing the ringing of the snare drum head as the drumstick strikes it (David Sanborn – Benny & Flim and the BBs - Light at the End of the Tunnel).  Brass instruments are strong and precise but thankfully not overbearing (Tower of Power – Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride).  Saxophone timbre is clear and clean, allowing the visceral effect of the sax to really come through (I suppose the musicians can take some credit too!) (Ernie Watts Quartet – One Day I’ll Fly Away & David Sanborn – Missing You).  Someone once described the Salk midrange as “lush” and I have to say that’s the adjective that I keep coming back to.  Lush as if the music is fully fleshed out and full bodied, but not in a messy way – there’s still a leaness to the sound, but not thin – you know, lush.

Another thing that definitely stands out to me is the soundstage and imaging.  Compared to my previous speakers, the soundstage has some additional depth and if I’m not crazy, significant additional height.  To be honest, I believe my D-Sonic amp is contributing to this expanded soundstage as I noticed that there was some added depth when it was first inserted into the system with my old speakers.  Nonetheless, the effect is more pronounced with the STs.  As for the additional height, to my mind it’s probably due to the improved (vs. my old speakers)  dispersion of the top mounted SEAS woofers.  On the other hand, I didn’t notice any additional width to the soundstage with the Salks but I believe this is probably due to my room’s limitations (the right side has vertical blinds and the left side has no nearby wall for first reflection) and my lack of placement options.  Imaging within the soundstage is excellent and I mean pinpoint accurate excellent.  It’s quite a treat to be able to close my eyes and be able to see with my mind’s eye exactly where the instruments are located.  Whereas my old speakers provided a shallow one plane soundstage, the Salks are giving me a soundstage that is both deep and tall.  This is very cool.

Although I normally crossover the Salks to my Rythmik subs, I did spend some time listening to the towers in Direct and Pure Direct modes in order to get a sense of the their full range performance.  I must say that for music, I was truly surprised at the low end performance.  These STs can definitely reach down and faithfully play all my usual evaluation tracks (Brian Bromberg – Yeah & Marcus Miller - Revelation) without any boom or bloat.  They can’t equal my subwoofers when it comes to room filling SPL, but they do a great job of reproducing the famous growl from Brian Bromberg’s acoustic bass, sounding both clean and tactile.  I didn’t test them in full range with my action Blu-rays because they obviously weren’t designed to play down in the teens or twenties, but for music I haven’t come across anything in my collection that they can’t handle (I’m not a pipe organ or dubstep enthusiast).  In fact, I enjoy the Salk’s full range abilities so much that I find myself switching to Direct mode more and more…but having said that, I love my Rythmik subs and they’re staying put.

One of the things I like to do when demoing speakers is get a taste of their ability to play music which contains  demanding dynamic range fluctuations. I’ve found that running them through several Flim and the BBs tracks tells me all I need to know about how they can handle wide swings of DR.  These CDs (the ones from Tom Jung’s DMP label) have been a treasured part of my music library since the early eighties and I haven’t found any other CDs that contain the same DR swings as these discs (and are still enjoyable, musically, to listen to).  I believe they’ve been out of print for years, but if you have a chance to get your hands on some (especially Tricycle, Tunnel and Big Notes), do it, and be sure to turn the volume up (hehe).    Back to the point, the Salks handled all the F&BBs I could throw at them (up to -5 on my AVR) without ever sounding as if they were struggling or strained.  Good fun.
 
Since a decent portion of my use will be watching Blu-rays I’ve been loading up a good number of discs.  Of note is my music Blu-ray with Lee Ritenour (Overtime), the picture quality (PQ) and sound quality are great and the music itself, IMO, is fantastic…I just can’t seem to stop watching this disc (which my family is none too happy about).  On a side note, I have a hard time getting use to 5.1 surround music as I find it odd to hear instruments playing behind me when I’m looking ahead at the screen.  Oh well, it’s probably just me.  Back on topic, thus far I’ve watched about 15 movies and the Salks have impressed every time.  My family has remarked several times that the dialogue is so much clearer than our old speakers, not sure if this attributable to the RAAL or the SEAS or both, but it is a noticeable improvement.  Although the placement of the Surrounds in my room is far from ideal, they still exhibit excellent dispersion and seem to effortlessly handle anything they're asked to.  Just for fun, I tried hooking up the Surrounds as my fronts and they performed surprisingly (for me) well and this was with no EQ or subs.  They obviously don’t have quite the same low end as the ST but their tonal quality was great, I think that if they were mated with a worthy subwoofer they could very easily make up a top notch HT system by themselves. 

If you’ve read this far, it’s fairly obvious that I’m thrilled with these speakers.  Would I buy them again?  Do I have any regrets?  Hell yes, and hell no…well, I wish I had purchased them years ago.  Are some of the things I’m hearing simply the placebo effect?  I’m sure that’s possible, in the absence of controlled testing it could just be my feeble mind playing tricks on me.  But I really believe I’ve found the speakers that I was looking for; accurate, neutral, detailed mids and a high end that sings.  The icing on the cake is a low end that is deeper and cleaner than one would ever expect from such a slender elegant tower.  While the Salks do not cover-up bad recordings by wrapping them in a blanket of warmth, I’m perfectly fine with that.  I prefer my speakers to be accurate and honest to the recording, to let the recording reveal itself for what it is.  If it’s bad it should sound bad, if it’s good it should sound good.  But that’s just me, YMMV.  What I do know is that I’m completely happy with the entire set and really can’t see myself upgrading these for many years (famous last words), and if I ever do, this set will find a place in my son’s home, no doubt about it.  What I’m most happy about is that these speakers have inspired me to seriously re-explore my existing music collection and to once again go out on the hunt for new musical discoveries.  Indeed, after listening to my nearly forgotten collections of Michael Franks (early years), Steely Dan and Joe Sample again after so many years, my long dormant passion for music has been renewed.  And for that Mr. Salk, I must thank you.

Update 6/1/13:
It’s been about 2 weeks since I finished writing about my experience so I wanted to come back and see if any of my impressions had changed.  Perhaps I just wanted to like these speakers to validate my choice, or maybe it was just a blinded-by-love honeymoon.  Well, I’m still in love with these speakers and I really can’t find anything that has fundamentally changed.  They still sound good and look good.  One thing I did notice is that I’m doing less conscious listening to the sound of the drivers and cabinet (the speaker) and listening more to just the music.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I think it’s a good thing.  I would bet that Jim would consider that a high compliment, that his speakers are so good that they get out of the way so that there is nothing between the listener and the emotional impact of the performance.  And I’ve purchased more music in the last month than I have in the last year…I think that’s a good thing too.


Credits:  I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all the previous Salk owners who have posted their experiences over the years, it was their body of work that drove me towards the Salk brand.  Of special note is Nuance’s speaker search thread that piqued my interest several years ago, if it hadn’t been for that thread I doubt I would’ve ever considered the Salk brand. And finally to Jim (and D. Murphy, P. Kittinger and others who have contributed to the ST) and his company, much thanks for offering such a fine, high level product at a reasonable price and for the excellent customer service you’ve already displayed.  I look forward to a long relationship.


MY SPEAKER TEST PLAYLIST (grouped by evaluation criteria; listed by Artist-Track-Disc) –
For Overall Performance evaluation:
Fourplay - Heartfelt (Heartfelt)
Fourplay - Tally Ho! (Heartfelt)
Fourplay – Café l’Amour (Heartfelt)
Brian Bromberg – Relentless (Choices)
David Sanborn - Rikke (Songs from the Night Before)
David Sanborn - Benny (Upfront)
David Sanborn – Missing You (Songs from the Night Before)
Tower of Power – Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (Monster on a Leash)
Ernie Watts Quartet – One Day I’ll Fly Away (Oasis)
Rippingtons - Anything (20th Anniversary Disc)
Scott Hamilton - Goodbye Mr. Evans (Scott Hamilton with Strings)
Sergey Rachmaninov  - Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 27; III. Adagio (Greatest Hits)

For Dynamic Range evaluation:
Flim and the BBs - Tricycle (Tricycle)
Flim and the BBs - Thunder and Birdies (Tricycle)
Flim and the BBs - Eden (Tricycle)
Flim and the BBs - Born to Love You (Big Notes)
Flim and the BBs - Light at the End of the Tunnel (Tunnel)

For Female Vocal evaluation:
Eva Cassidy - At Last (Time After Time)
Eva Cassidy - Time After Time (Time After Time)
Diana Krall - I'll String Along With You (When I Look in Your Eyes)
Diana Krall - When I Look in Your Eyes (When I Look in Your Eyes)

For Male Vocal evaluation
Fourplay - Why Can't It Wait Until Morning – Phil Collins vocal (Elixir)
J.D. Souther - Silver Blue (Natural History)
J.D. Souther - Best of My Love (Natural History)
J.D. Souther - Faithless Love (Natural History)
Kenny Rankin - Where Do You Start (A Song for You)
Kenny Rankin – She Was Too Good to Me (A Song for You)
Nathan Aweau – Akaka Falls (E Apo Mai)

For Bass texture evaluation:
Brian Bromberg - I Love You (Wood)
Brian Bromberg - Never Give Up (Choices)
Brian Bromberg - Yeah (Hands)
Brian Bromberg – Use Me (Hands)
Brian Bromberg - A Love Affair (Wood II)
(actually  the entire Wood and Wood II discs)
Marcus Miller - Detroit (Renaissance)
Marcus Miller - Revelation (Renaissance)

Blu-rays
For Music (stereo and 5.1) evaluation:
Lee Ritenour - Overtime (Blu-ray)
Sting - Live from Berlin (Blu-ray)
The Eagles – Live from Melbourne (Blu-ray)

Evaluation of PQ, bass extension and surround effects (this list is constantly changing):
Avengers
U-571
Ironman 2
Inception
9
Toy Story 3
Jaws



Additional photos are in my Gallery.
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?action=gallery;area=browse;album=10399

Front tower with grill.


Front tower without grill.


Center channel with grill.


Center channel without grill.


Surround channel with grill.


Surround channel without grill.



View of the front stage (April 2018).





That is all.
« Last Edit: 9 May 2018, 08:01 pm by laulau »

Ace Deprave

Thank you for that well written review.

I don't know if these reviews quell or feed my anticipation anxiety, but I like them anyway!

FloridaBear

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 31
Thanks for your review. Your experience with the RAALs matches my (very limited) experience as well--"startling" is a good word. After listening to them for the first time, I was truly amazed at the level of detail but without any apparent emphasis of any particular frequencies. They just get out of the way, exactly the quality that I look for in all my gear. I hope to order my own Salks soon (although I've waited much longer than I expected!).

murphy11

Congrats and thanks for the review.

Out of curiousity did you try either moving the equipment rack back towards front wall a few inches so the center sits more near the front edge of the equipment cabinet? Other possibility would be to move center and mains a few inches forward so there is no possibile reflection of the center off the rack. Maybe it's not audible but I have my centers on the front edge of an equipment rack and on the front edge of a fireplace mantle which works well for me.  I'm interested if it measured or sounded any different\better\worse than current placement.

glangford

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 70
I hope to order my own Salks soon (although I've waited much longer than I expected!).

I waited longer than I intended as well. There is a plus side to that though.  I ended up ordering on notch up I waited so long.  I had intended to order Songtowers, but a year ending bonus put my speaker savings to the level of SCSTs! 

Vulcan00

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 405
  • SEM Micrograph of Dendritic Structure
Very nice system!

You and I enjoy a lot of the same music. I have been a fan of Fourplay  since they started  and have most of Bob James stuff. I also have a few Rippington Cd's and of course most of Diana Krall stuff.

Best regards,

Harrison

DRSmith

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 18
Congrats and thanks for the review.

Out of curiousity did you try either moving the equipment rack back towards front wall a few inches so the center sits more near the front edge of the equipment cabinet? Other possibility would be to move center and mains a few inches forward so there is no possibile reflection of the center off the rack. Maybe it's not audible but I have my centers on the front edge of an equipment rack and on the front edge of a fireplace mantle which works well for me.  I'm interested if it measured or sounded any different\better\worse than current placement.

My center is in a rack/bookshelf area.  When I first put it here, it sounded very muffled.  The top overlap was deeper than the bottom.  When I moved it out, it sounded much better.  It sounded sort of like cuffing your hands over your mouth like a megaphone.  Probably not as bad in this situation… but I bet it would sound a little better moving it forward 2 or 3 inches.

Glad you are loving your speakers!… I think that Curly Walnut is amazing.

JerryM

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4514
  • Where's The Bar?
Great review, laulau!!  :bowdown:

Thanks for taking the time to share!  :thumb:

chargedmr2

Great post and nice setup you have there!  Your Salks look very nice and I'm happy that you're enjoying them so much. 

Just out of curiosity, why did you go with a front-ported center but rear ported LR mains?  It would seem that the opposite might have served your situation better since your right speaker is backed into the corner and closed in by your sub, while your center is sitting in open space.  I suppose this is a non-issue when crossed to your sub.  Have you tried crossing even higher (80Hz or so)?  It might create even cleaner bass.  Or maybe not...the ST seem pretty forgiving with placement. 

Also, thanks for posting your list of music used to test the speakers out.  I'm going to look into some of those for sure :thumb:

Saturn94

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1148
Thanks for posting the great review.  :thumb:

These types if posts were very helpful when I was researching speakers.

The finish you chose is beautiful!  :D

Nuance

Wow, what a review!  Well done good sir!  You have a great setup and I'm thrilled to have Hawaii represent the Salk family.  Welcome aboard buddy, and thanks so much for your review.  Your ST RT's look right at home in your room.  It was meant to be.

Frisco

laulau....great review and beautiful pics or your new Salks!! :thumb:

From that first pic with the Fedex truck...do you happen to live in a townhouse on Oahu? Kupono in Waipio? Looks awfully familar  :scratch:....I'm in Royal Palm... :green:

laulau

First, thanks to EVERYONE for your supportive replies.

@Ace Deprave:
Have seen your posts on AVS, trust me that once you receive your speakers all the waiting will seem like a distant memory.

@Murphy11:
Actually, the current position of the CC is only about 1" away from the front edge.  I tried flush with the front of the cabinet and up to 3" from the edge, but to tell the truth I couldn't hear any difference.  I ended up lining it up with the front towers, strictly for aesthetics.  Also, it's difficult to see from the photos but the front edge is tilted up about 5/8" relative to the back of the speaker.  One of these days I'll have to break out my Omnimic or REW again and see if there are any measurable differences.

@Vulcan00:
I always found it interesting to see what everyone else was listening to so I thought I'd toss my list out there.  One nice thing about the Fourplay recordings is that they are, for the most part, of very good sound quality.  I have close to a dozen of their discs and they always seem to find their way to my player.  Lately I've started to get into Bill Evans and Ernie Watts, stuff with a little more of an improvisational slant.

@chargedmr2:
I went with the front ported CC because I wasn't sure if I was going to stick with my current cabinet or go with one that had a dedicated CC shelf.  The front ports gave me more options.  As for the towers, I knew from my research that they were very flexible as far as placement goes, and you're right I would be crossing them to my Rythmiks, plus I was hoping that the Audyssey XT32 would be able to tame any potential peaks.  I have tried crossing at 80Hz and it was great.  Then I tried crossing at 60Hz and it was great.  Honestly, I'm having a hard time choosing between the two.  I know I should probably cross at 80 and let the subs do what they were designed to do, but 60 sounds so good too.   :scratch:

@Frisco:
Howzit gang! Mahalo for the kind words.

Braddah you get good kine eyes.  How you wen spock my place lah dat?  Yup, Waipio it is.