Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8

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girby001

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Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« on: 20 Jun 2018, 04:49 am »
Hi everyone,
I'm very new to this forum.
I currently have an Anthem MRX 720 with 4 x JBL studio's 530, a JBL 520 centre and a Submersive HPi+ subwoofer. So far it's been great. I wish to add possibly either the Salk Soundscape 8 used or the Philharmonics 3 towers to create a 7.1 system. I listen to music and HT almost equally. Can anyone who has heard both comment on their similarities and differences and if my Anthem will be a good fit for them. I look forward to your responses.
Thanks guys,
Cheers
Bas

JLM

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Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #1 on: 20 Jun 2018, 11:52 am »
Welcome Bas!

What are your goals here (beyond adding two channels)?  Are you looking for a different sound/presentation and can you describe what changes you might be after (versus just add more similar speakers)?  Do you pay loud and can you quantify how loud with readings?  What is your room/set up like (size, shape, locations of speaker/listening position, room openings/finishes, is it a shared space)? 

The Anthem seems impressive for an A/V receiver, but the Soundscape 8 or Philharmonics are usually paired with even more impressive electronics.  I'm a 'speaker guy' so I sympathize with you in that regard.  And as you probably know it's important to timbre match all speakers and I doubt either would blend well with the JBL's.  Don't know if anyone here has heard all three speakers to offer their opinions in this tonal matching issue.  And I wonder if either would be as dynamic as the JBL's.

Salk speakers are a committee effort.  Jim Salk picks out top drawer drivers and builds the gorgeous cabinets, Dennis Murphy does the crossover design, and Paul Kittinger designs the cabinets.  The Soundscape 8 is the first of his speakers that offered a coherent sound IMO (lower priced ones I've heard sound simply like a collection of drivers that happen to share the same cabinet).  But for it's size it's fairly inefficient, 4 ohm load (is the Anthem up for that?).

The Philharmonics 3 is a bigger/cheaper cousin of sorts to the Soundscape 8 (same crossover designer, cabinet builder, and brand of tweeter).  Philharmonic 3 uses transmission line bass (I'm a fan of TL's) and should have a nominal impedance of 8 ohms (making them an easier load on the Anthem).  Haven't heard it, but have heard the $200/pair Affordable Accuracy Monitor and none of us were impressed in a quick shoot out with several other small monitors at an audio club meeting I hosted. 

Before you drop $$$$ on speakers you'll need to personally audition.  Would be best to haul the Anthem with you, if the host is open to that.  Take care.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #2 on: 20 Jun 2018, 12:04 pm »
Welcome Bas :thumb:

Phil A

Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #3 on: 20 Jun 2018, 12:50 pm »
Welcome!

Stercom

Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #4 on: 20 Jun 2018, 01:44 pm »
I owned the Philharmonic 3 for a couple of years. They are excellent high-value speakers. The most obvious difference with the Soundscape 8 is, of course, the price and Jim's exceptional woodworking (which he may be willing to do for the Philharmonic 3 at extra cost). I've heard the Soundscape 8 a couple of times and think they are better than the Philharmonic 3 but not sure if they are worth the additional cost. I've recently seen a few pair of used Soundscape 8 available which is another consideration.

ArthurDent

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Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #5 on: 20 Jun 2018, 03:38 pm »
Greetings & Welcome to AC Bas   :thumb:

avahifi

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Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #6 on: 20 Jun 2018, 06:51 pm »
I own and use both the Salk HT2 TL and Philharmonic Three speakers.

The HT2TLs are in my AV system and handle anything a big musical score and flamethrowing tanks crashing thru my kitchen can throw at them.  Very nice wide range and very robust speakers. They are long term keepers.

The Philharmonic Threes are in my reference system here.  I conducer them to be the lowest priced true very high resolution wide range speakers available.  Neutral, dynamic, awesome bass, and overall very pleasing.

The Philharmonic Threes are not the living end in transparency, just more than wonderful at their price.  I had the good fortune to pair our electronics with Alta Titanium Hestria speakers at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Fest.  Pared with these, I have never heard our electronics sound as good.  it was really encouraging to understand that AVA electronics are just as transparent, revealing, and musical as the very expensive "big boys".  Of course the Hestris are about $25,000 a pair, way, way, way out of my price range.

Frank Van Alstine

Mudslide

Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #7 on: 20 Jun 2018, 11:47 pm »
Hi everyone,
I'm very new to this forum.
I currently have an Anthem MRX 720 with 4 x JBL studio's 530, a JBL 520 centre and a Submersive HPi+ subwoofer. So far it's been great. I wish to add possibly either the Salk Soundscape 8 used or the Philharmonics 3 towers to create a 7.1 system. I listen to music and HT almost equally. Can anyone who has heard both comment on their similarities and differences and if my Anthem will be a good fit for them. I look forward to your responses.
Thanks guys,
Cheers
Bas

Your JBLs should be fine as surrounds, but I wouldn't recommend the 520 center.  Panning across the front 3 is very important for HT.  Surrounds on the other hand get very little information and don't truly require timbre matching.

I have Philharmonic 2s paired with JBL S38 surrounds...it is absolutely no problem for us.  But I do have a wish for a different center.  I have placement constraints and can't fit a good 3-way Salk or Phil center to match.  So I use a Dennis Murphy modded JBL EC35.  'Tis the best I could do.  It's not bad, at all.  Dennis did a fantastic job of correcting some brutal JBL crossovers.  But the difference in dynamics is still sometimes notable.

Good luck with your upgrade and welcome to AudioCircle!
« Last Edit: 21 Jun 2018, 04:46 am by Mudslide »

girby001

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Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #8 on: 22 Jun 2018, 01:31 pm »
Hi all!  :thumb:
Thank you for having me and even a bigger thank you for spending some time to reply to my post.
:thumb:

The JBL's tweeters are awesome to my ears but the midrange is severely lacking, hence why I am considering the Philharmonics 3 and their planar, open back mid-range. I understand everyone has their preference to sound presentation but I prefer a lively exciting sound, meaning a huge sound stage, plus its airy holographic, transparent, high in resolution and can also be dynamic when called upon. I listen to dance music, pop, rnb, classical, soft rock and jazz, the pretty much the lot..lol I also definitely love to play my music nice and loud (HT too)
From my research and please correct me if I am wrong, the Phil's 3 would provide this. In addition, it will be used for HT but if it a good speaker for music then it should also perform for HT. 
 
In terms of other gear, I have my wedding scheduled for the beginning of next year so I doubt I would be able to purchase any more expensive gear, she is both the CEO and my minister of finance, :nono: so would my Anthem MRX 720 get say 90-95% potential of these speakers, since it is rated 140Watts at 8 Ohm with its 85dB sensitivity? Would there be an issue with my JBLs being 6 Ohm speakers rated at 86dB for my side and rear surrounds?

In terms of centre channel I am looking at the Philharmonics MTM centre, but it has a different tweeter and different drivers too, this make me worried that it might not suitable for the Phil 3's. Has anyone tried listening to this centre channel seperately or in a HT with the Phil 3's and would like to comment on its sound?

My room is pretty much the entire lounge room, 1 side window, 6m W x 5m L, and I can arrange it the way I like  8) 

I would love to audition these speakers but I live in Sydney Australia so its just not possible to have them shipped for an audition. Maybe the closest thing we have here is the Monitor Audio Platinum with its ribbon tweeters, but it wont be a like to like comparison, this why I came to this forum that Dennis Murphy highly recommended to me, and get everyone's input too.

Knowledge is my best friend so the more input there is here (don't be afraid to share your thoughts/opinions) the more likely I can come to a correct conclusion.

Thanks guys,
Cheers
Bas

marvda1

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Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #9 on: 22 Jun 2018, 07:09 pm »
then i would purchase whatever i needed before the wedding. :lol:

JLM

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Re: Philharmonics 3 vs Salk Soundscape 8
« Reply #10 on: 22 Jun 2018, 08:55 pm »
then i would purchase whatever i needed before the wedding. :lol:

+1 (And that goes for room setup.)

Shipping cost of either (especially the Phil 3) would be a killer.  Have you considered monitors?  (I always recommend minimum 6 inch mid/woofer to provide full bodied mid-bass.)

The issue with the Anthem isn't power as much as quality compared to Salk 8 or Phil 3, although according to their website the 140 watts is just for the front two channels (the rest is rated at 60 watts, all at 8 ohms).  Keep in mind that 60 watts = 17 dB of gain, 140 watts = 21 dB of gain, so shouldn't a huge issue.  But at what distortion do these wattages perform?  The -88 dB noise (type unspecified) at 1 watt is NOT impressive.  And these points don't address the matter of sound quality of the receiver, let alone compared to the JBL's.

On the other hand using a single box (receiver) should (emphasize should) make the system more user family friendly than multiple boxes (preamp, power amp(s)).

Take care.