2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??

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albireo13

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2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« on: 28 Jun 2011, 11:51 am »
OK, sorry about yet another post.  Instead of individual threads, asking questions about various models, I'd like to get feedback from Salk owners on their 2ch speaker selection.  I currently have 2ch, with Paradigm Studio 20 bookshelves ... no sub.   This is for my living room which is 16 X 24ft, 8ft high.   

  I've been going through postings and it seems most folks are building multi-channel HT systems.  I have a basic 5.1 HT system in my finished basement with big screen TV and am now swinging back in the other direction ... more towards the retro 2-channel music days.   I just enjoy music more as 2-ch.  I would consider 2.1, adding a sub but, maybe I wouldn't need that with the right speakers.  Anyway, I could always add that later if I wanted to.

  This will be a dedicated music setup, in my living room. I don't plan to ever upgrade it beyond 2.1 audio.

  My first order of business is targeting the right speakers.  I enjoy jazz, vocals, classical, blues, new-age and some classic rock.  I'm definitely not a high volume listener.   My Studio-20s sound nice for vocals and jazz.  Diana Krall sounded wonderful the other night!
However, for chuckles, I popped in some older Pink Floyd after that and was underwhelmed by the Studios.   The Studio-20s have been a wonderful upgrade from my previous old college dorm speakers.  Now I think one more step up is in order.  I don't think I'll ever go super high end.  With 5 kids, youngest in 9th grade, bills and financial pressures are keeping me grounded.
WE plan to sell the house within 5 years to downgrade.  I can either look to upgrade now (within a year) or wait and save pennies until we move.

   In any case, I had first found out about Salks, and this web site, last year.  I instantly fell in love with the SongTowers.  They seem to be a great deal.  However, I'm also looking at HT1, HT1-TL, Ellis 1801-TL,  and HT2-TL as well.   I hate to be impatient and jump for Songtowers within a year finding out I have upgraditis after a year or so.   I hope to listen to some Songtowers locally soon but, don't expect to be able to listen to all these models.

  So,  to those folks with humble 2ch Salk systems ... what have you settled on?  What would you recommend?

I am ruling out anything over $4K.  The HT2-TLs are a stretch goal and realistically, anything pricier than Songtowers would have to wait a few years.

  Thanks to all for putting up with my postings.

  BTW, my electronics are currently all Emotiva .. USP-1, UPA-2.  Upgrading those .... that's another story for another day.  :D

Regards,
Rob


 

 


jd3

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #1 on: 28 Jun 2011, 12:10 pm »
Rob,
I've used HT1-TL's, SongTowers, and SongBirds in a 2 channel setup in my living room, which is a bit smaller than yours.  Any of those will provide you what you're looking for, it just depends on the level of refinement you want.  As you move up the line you get higher quality drivers.  The ST's will play a bit louder than the HT1-TL's at the same level, but you say you're really not looking for that.  All the models I mentioned should provide enough bass (they did for me) to avoid the use of a sub.  (My personal preference has always been to avoid the use of a sub in 2 channel setups...I've never been able to get them integrated properly, but that's me!) 

The hidden gem of all the above models IMO is the SongBird.  It images like crazy, goes surprisingly deep, and like all Salks, has a wonderful midrange.  It is just a fabulous bargain at its price-point.   

John

albireo13

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jun 2011, 12:23 pm »
Hi John,
  Thanks for the reply. This is exactly the type of input I'm hoping for.   Hmmm .... Songbirds.  Perhaps this is a good entry into Salk sound. I could start with Songbirds and upgrade later perhaps.

  I'm not worried about the efficiency so much.  I currently rarely operate higher than 9:00 on my amp volume knob.  Then again, the Studio-20s are reasonably efficient .. 89-90dB.

  Yes, I've used a sub before as well and was never quite happy with how I was able to integrate it in.   It could be just me though.

albireo13

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #3 on: 28 Jun 2011, 12:24 pm »
Forgot to mention .... the HTs seem nice as well.  the appear to go lower than my Studios.
I could still stick with bookshelves, since I have stands already.

Nuance

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #4 on: 28 Jun 2011, 01:30 pm »
Rob,

My humble system is:

- Parasound 2100 Preamp
- PS Audio Digital Link III DAC
- I sold the Butler 2250 and now use a Parasound A23, because in my room and to my ears the difference was not worth the money (the Butler was decent, though).
- Salk Signature Sound SongTower RT's (LCY).
- Dual DIY TC Sounds TC2000 15" sealed subwoofers (only one in use for now)

Right now I am at the point of diminishing returns, in which I net less performance gain than I'd like even if I spend a good deal more.  I may just leave things as is and enjoy, or I may try a (tube) DAC and/or preamp/amp combo.  Regardless, it won't get much better for me IMO. 

If you plan to integrate a good subwoofer, go for the SongTower RT's.  Now that they are available with the RAAL tweeter it's a win win.  To my ears they are about 95% of the HT2-TL's when crossed to a capable sub.  If you want to stay with 2.0, get the HT2-TL's so you won't wonder "what if?"

For what it's worth, I don't use a subwoofer for music because the ST's necessarily "need it;" I use the sub(s) to take the room out of the equation.  It's much easier to integrate a subwoofer than it is to find the spot in your listening room that will provide excellent bass response and imaging and sound stage width and depth for the speakers.  In fact, it's likely that the best place for in-room bass response won't be the best place for the rest of the speaker attributes, hence the subwoofer recommendation (an active speaker would solve this, such as the active HT3).  YMMV, and to each their own.

Any of Salk's "entry level" speakers will best the Studio 20's in my opinion; in every aspect.  Investing in room treatments will also vastly improve your system.  Even the greatest speakers in the world will perform poorly in a room with bad acoustics.  The room and the speakers will make up 90% of what you hear, so be sure to get those in order first. 

I hope that helps.  Whatever you choose, I think you'll be very pleased. 

jtwrace

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #5 on: 28 Jun 2011, 01:58 pm »
If you're open to finish, these are a great deal  http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=93870.msg960117;topicseen#new

geezer

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #6 on: 28 Jun 2011, 02:17 pm »
You list classical music among the types you like to listen to, and you also note you're not a high volume listener. Those are mutually contradictory statements. Much of the most interesting classical music exhibits a very wide dynamic range, and if you want to approach the 'live' listening experience (and you don't want to lose the softer passages) you'll need high volume. On symphonic music I frequently listen with the volume set at 11:00. For me, this is an important issue (even more so with opera).

Of course if classical is a small fraction of your listening, or if you primarily use it just as background music, this doesn't apply.

TJHUB

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #7 on: 28 Jun 2011, 03:30 pm »
Rob,

My humble system is:

- Parasound 2100 Preamp
- PS Audio Digital Link III DAC
- I sold the Butler 2250 and now use a Parasound A23, because in my room and to my ears the difference was not worth the money (the Butler was decent, though).
- Salk Signature Sound SongTower RT's (LCY).
- Dual DIY TC Sounds TC2000 15" sealed subwoofers (only one in use for now)

Right now I am at the point of diminishing returns, in which I net less performance gain than I'd like even if I spend a good deal more.  I may just leave things as is and enjoy, or I may try a (tube) DAC and/or preamp/amp combo.  Regardless, it won't get much better for me IMO. 

If you plan to integrate a good subwoofer, go for the SongTower RT's.  Now that they are available with the RAAL tweeter it's a win win.  To my ears they are about 95% of the HT2-TL's when crossed to a capable sub.  If you want to stay with 2.0, get the HT2-TL's so you won't wonder "what if?"

For what it's worth, I don't use a subwoofer for music because the ST's necessarily "need it;" I use the sub(s) to take the room out of the equation.  It's much easier to integrate a subwoofer than it is to find the spot in your listening room that will provide excellent bass response and imaging and sound stage width and depth for the speakers.  In fact, it's likely that the best place for in-room bass response won't be the best place for the rest of the speaker attributes, hence the subwoofer recommendation (an active speaker would solve this, such as the active HT3).  YMMV, and to each their own.

Any of Salk's "entry level" speakers will best the Studio 20's in my opinion; in every aspect.  Investing in room treatments will also vastly improve your system.  Even the greatest speakers in the world will perform poorly in a room with bad acoustics.  The room and the speakers will make up 90% of what you hear, so be sure to get those in order first. 

I hope that helps.  Whatever you choose, I think you'll be very pleased.

For what it's worth, I agree with Nuance 100%.  I have HT2-TL's and I run a subwoofer for music as it's the only way I can get a flat bass response.  I certainly don't need a sub with the HT2-TL's, until you factor in what my room does to the frequency response below 100Hz.

I would consider 2 options.  I would highly consider the HT1-TL's if you want to attempt not using a subwoofer.  They would seem to fit your needs perfectly.  The best option IMO, would be the SongTower RT's with a nice sub.  It's what I'd do without hesitation. 

As far as integrating a sub, it takes more than just a great sub.  You absolutely MUST EQ the sub.  The reason most people can't get a sub to properly integrate with their speakers is because the sub does not have a flat frequency response and therefore is too quiet at some frequencies and too loud at others.  This makes the sub more noticeable and the sound isn't very good at all.  I run dual 18" LMS Ultra subs with my Salk's and many people ask if the subs are being used for music.  The integration is flawless to my ears.  So is Nuance's 15's. 

If I were you, I'd pair a Rythmik 12" to the SongTower RT's and be in heaven with the sub properly EQ'd.  :thumb:



 

fsimms

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #8 on: 28 Jun 2011, 03:39 pm »
If you live near Houston, my friend Raj is still selling his SongTowers.  He hasn't had anybody out to even hear them.  I don't think anybody could hear them and not buy them.  :thumb:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=87239.0

Bob

albireo13

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #9 on: 28 Jun 2011, 04:06 pm »
fsimms ...  darn!  those look nice but, I live in New Hampshire.


  It's sounding like the STs area great choice for me.  I'm intruiged by the HT1-TLs though, as well.
Perhaps I'll try and chat with Jim about it but, I don't want to bother him too much.


TJHUB

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #10 on: 28 Jun 2011, 05:10 pm »
fsimms ...  darn!  those look nice but, I live in New Hampshire.


  It's sounding like the STs area great choice for me.  I'm intruiged by the HT1-TLs though, as well.
Perhaps I'll try and chat with Jim about it but, I don't want to bother him too much.

I'm positive Jim won't mind a chat with you.  Call him!


iFi Tyler

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #11 on: 28 Jun 2011, 06:43 pm »
Where do you live in NH?  There are a few folks who own Salk speakers nearby.

eclein

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #12 on: 28 Jun 2011, 07:02 pm »
  It's sounding like the STs area great choice for me.  I'm intruiged by the HT1-TLs though, as well.
Perhaps I'll try and chat with Jim about it but, I don't want to bother him too much.

albireo13-Jim is one of the nicest guys on here and loves to talk about all things audio as far as I can tell, I'd call him myself and wouldn't hesitate about that at all...let us know what he says. Great folks here that genuinely want to share good sound with everybody....welcome to AC, Call Jim

adydula

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #13 on: 28 Jun 2011, 08:36 pm »
Hello!

I am one of those humble 2 ch SalkSongtower owners!!

I had many speakers over the past 30 yrs in this hobby..I am 62 yrs young as of last week.

You will not go wrong with a pair of SongTowers, they are absolutely marvelous...for the price there is NO better out there PERIOD.

They play loud, go low and sound so 'musical' nothing humble here from lite jazz, classical to rock...all really great.

They are easy to drive, sound good with a variety of equipment, AVR's seperates etc..

Wait until you hear Diana Krall on these speakers!!! OMG its really great.

Unless you want your speakers to go down REALLY low these will handle 95% of all music really well...your musical tastes are much like mine...

The bass from these never ceases to amaze me...and if after awhile you want to upgrade your SongTowers will not be hard to find a home for.

Several times I have started the upgrade to the HT2's and I keep saying for me why? I am very content with them....maybe if I will the lottery..then it would be the SoundScapes!!  :D

I have used these speakers with a Onkyo 805 receiver with great results and now with a AVA Ultravalve amp with only 35 watts per channel and its a marraige made in heaven for sure!!

I am a 2 ch guy, and I have a sub and a 6.1 HT but tried the sub several times, always too boomy for me and the SongTowers do just fine in the bass department...and many use subs with good results.

Give Jim a call he is a great guy and will answer your questions!

Best of luck with your decision!

All the best
Alex
 :D


albireo13

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #14 on: 29 Jun 2011, 10:50 am »
Hi Alex,
  That sounds neat.  I'm not looking for the ultimate speaker, just something at the "next level", compared to my Studio-20s.
I actually have enjoyed the Studios but, do recognize their limitations.

Rob
 8)

Nuance

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #15 on: 29 Jun 2011, 12:32 pm »
Well said, TJHUB; well said.  It's imperative to purchase a quality subwoofer (sealed or passive IMO, as ported can give off port noise).  If you don't EQ the subwoofer, or you neglect finding a quality unit (Rythmik, JL Audio, DIY, etc), you certainly will not enjoy the integration.  It's impossible to integrate a poor to average quality subwoofer while also not apply parametric EQ below the crossover.  For what it's worth, SVS ported subs are also well designed and seem to integrate pretty well into music systems (TJHUB's old PB13 Ultra comes to mind).  I'll always recommend sealed, though, as they just sounded more "right" to my ears.  YMMV, and I am sure there are many other subwoofer manufacturers than provide quality products that will pair well with Salk speakers. 

In short, don't skimp on the subwoofer and don't hesitate to EQ it, else a solid integration just won't happen.

Saturn94

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #16 on: 29 Jun 2011, 01:26 pm »
To my ears my SVS 16-46PC+ (powered vented cylinder sub) integrates very well with my HT2-TLs.  No sub EQ, btw. :wink:

TJHUB

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #17 on: 29 Jun 2011, 01:44 pm »
Hi Alex,
  That sounds neat.  I'm not looking for the ultimate speaker, just something at the "next level", compared to my Studio-20s.
I actually have enjoyed the Studios but, do recognize their limitations.

Rob
 8)

I almost purchased a pair of Studio 20's some years back.  I passed them up as soon as I heard a pair of B&W 805S's that I found bettered the Studio's in every way.  For the price difference, they should too! 

A little over 2 years ago, I was invited to Nuance's home to listen to his SongTower RT's.  Actually, I brought my B&W's along to compare.  To my surprise, the SongTowers absolutely ruined the B&W's for me.  To make a long story short, the SongTowers made the midrange of my B&W's sound dull and lifeless. There was SO much more detail and clarity.  The B&W's treble was also lacking in comparison.  The treble on the SongTowers was so clean and detailed while never sounding bright or in your face.  By comparison, the treble on the B&W's lacked the detail and clarity of the Salk ribbon, and often sounded bright and shrill on some material.  I was basically embarrassed to own the B&W's.  I couldn't believe such a highly regarded speaker sounded compared so poorly to the Salk's.  I even thought that getting the B&W's back home in my setup would make things better...NOPE!  I sold the B&W's in the following weeks and ordered my HT2-TL's.  I have not heard a speaker I'd rather have to date.  As Nuance has already stated, I agree that the SongTower RT's give 95% of what the HT2-TL's do minus the bass extension. 

IMO, any of the Salk's are FAR MORE than the "next step" over your Studio 20's. 

TJHUB

Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #18 on: 29 Jun 2011, 02:08 pm »
To my ears my SVS 16-46PC+ (powered vented cylinder sub) integrates very well with my HT2-TLs.  No sub EQ, btw. :wink:

I'm not doubting your ears, but I'm going to offer my humble opinion.  :)

I purchased an SVS 20-39PC+ basically when they first became available (I had a VERY low serial number).  I always liked the sub and didn't EQ it for many years.  It did always seem to integrate well with my various speakers, so I didn't really think twice about it. 

However, one day I learned more about how bass could, or should, sound.  It seems things always sound great until you hear something better.  Well, I heard something a lot better.

This got me on the path of in-room frequency response measurements.  Sure enough, I had peaks and valleys below 100Hz that could be corrected with an EQ device.  Once I EQ'd my sub, the sound got better, but it wasn't nearly as good as I had heard.

My next sub was an SVS PB13-Ultra.  Now things got MUCH better.  One thing I learned at the time is that good bass is much more than low frequency output.  One thing no one should argue is that SVS is great at the low stuff, but their subs really lacked detail and articulation above 50Hz.  The PB13 was a HUGE step in the right direction in this regard.  When properly setup and EQ'd, the PB13 sounded really good.

But again, I had heard better.  One thing that always bothered me about the PB13 for music is that I always felt it had a boxy sound to it.  It was like I could hear the inside of the box and it came through in a lot of music. 

Fast forward a couple of years and a Seaton Sound Submersive HP, and I finally heard what I think is the best bass I've heard.  A friend has a single 18" TC Sounds LMS Ultra DIY sub.  I was amazed to say the least.  Needless to say, I now run dual 18" LMS Ultra's and they amaze me almost every day.  They dance across every bass note with ultimate clarity and detail.  I've heard nothing better. :D

Now, the sub has to be capable of certain level of performance on it's own, but proper setup is a HUGE part of the battle.  Subs fall victim to the room they are in.  Placement can be picky, and the listening position is equally important.  My room is tough in one spot, but I've seen and worked with worse.  99% of the time, any sub is going to hugely benefit from being EQ'd.  The ONLY time this hasn't been true is in Nuance's new home.  If he was to add any EQ to his sub, he could only make it worse.  I've never seen anything like it! 

So it is possible your sub is working great in your room, but from my experience, EQ'ing it could make it a lot better.  As far as the sound quality of the 16-46PC+, sure it sounds great, that is until you hear something better.  :wink:

BTW, what do you use for x-over and what frequency do your high-pass your mains and sub?



 

Saturn94

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Re: 2-ch stereo system ... Salk selection??
« Reply #19 on: 29 Jun 2011, 03:09 pm »
I'm not doubting your ears, but I'm going to offer my humble opinion.  :)

I purchased an SVS 20-39PC+ basically when they first became available (I had a VERY low serial number).  I always liked the sub and didn't EQ it for many years.  It did always seem to integrate well with my various speakers, so I didn't really think twice about it. 

However, one day I learned more about how bass could, or should, sound.  It seems things always sound great until you hear something better.  Well, I heard something a lot better.

This got me on the path of in-room frequency response measurements.  Sure enough, I had peaks and valleys below 100Hz that could be corrected with an EQ device.  Once I EQ'd my sub, the sound got better, but it wasn't nearly as good as I had heard.

My next sub was an SVS PB13-Ultra.  Now things got MUCH better.  One thing I learned at the time is that good bass is much more than low frequency output.  One thing no one should argue is that SVS is great at the low stuff, but their subs really lacked detail and articulation above 50Hz.  The PB13 was a HUGE step in the right direction in this regard.  When properly setup and EQ'd, the PB13 sounded really good.

But again, I had heard better.  One thing that always bothered me about the PB13 for music is that I always felt it had a boxy sound to it.  It was like I could hear the inside of the box and it came through in a lot of music. 

Fast forward a couple of years and a Seaton Sound Submersive HP, and I finally heard what I think is the best bass I've heard.  A friend has a single 18" TC Sounds LMS Ultra DIY sub.  I was amazed to say the least.  Needless to say, I now run dual 18" LMS Ultra's and they amaze me almost every day.  They dance across every bass note with ultimate clarity and detail.  I've heard nothing better. :D

Now, the sub has to be capable of certain level of performance on it's own, but proper setup is a HUGE part of the battle.  Subs fall victim to the room they are in.  Placement can be picky, and the listening position is equally important.  My room is tough in one spot, but I've seen and worked with worse.  99% of the time, any sub is going to hugely benefit from being EQ'd.  The ONLY time this hasn't been true is in Nuance's new home.  If he was to add any EQ to his sub, he could only make it worse.  I've never seen anything like it! 

So it is possible your sub is working great in your room, but from my experience, EQ'ing it could make it a lot better.  As far as the sound quality of the 16-46PC+, sure it sounds great, that is until you hear something better.  :wink:

BTW, what do you use for x-over and what frequency do your high-pass your mains and sub?

Hehehe.....isn't it always the case that we think what we have is great until we hear something much better. :lol:  After my speaker purchase 4 months ago, I can't afford to hear anything better for awhile. :wink:

Late last year I did try SVS's sub EQ (AS-EQ1) but was dissappointed with the results.  At first I just thought I wasn't use to "flat" bass, but the low bass just seem to be missing.  Some of my favorite classical recordings that have bass much like I remember hearing in live performances sounded downright anemic with the EQ.  So I ended up returning the sub EQ to SVS.

Of course there's also the question of preference.  It very well could be that I don't like a flat bass response.

Perhaps when I have the funds and the motivation I might try one of the EQ's that allows you to customize the curves to one's preference.

In your opinion, would the best performance boost value come from EQing my existing sub or upgrading the sub itself?  I don't want to derail this thread, so please PM me (or we could start a new thread).

BTW, to answer your last question, I seem to get the best response by setting low pass to 80hz and high pass to 125hz.  This gives me a nice smooth transition from the HT2-TL to the sub.