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Choosing between Wh 9.1/Energy C-300/CA S30

Wharfedale Linton Heritage Speakers

Resonance

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Hello,

A friend recommended me to this forum for 'sound' advice on anything hifi.
I'm based in the US currently and on a tight budget, looking to upgrade my front speakers in a 5.1 setup. I have a Denon 1507 AVR (75 w) with an Oppo 980H as source. The 5.1 speaker setup consists of JBL speakers (Northridge series)with a 10 in. JBL sub. The setup is allright for home-theatre use but is miserable for music.

I now have a little bit saved up and wanted to upgrade my current front speakers to something more musically oriented. The place where I stay does not unfortunately have any decent audition shops within driving distance for the speakers I have shortlisted. My musical tastes are quite general, from Indian classical to Jazz to Film music to Rock. So I wanted a speaker which is neutral to warm, with detail and resolution. I am not into heavy bass but I prefer a system which has some bass depth along with good timing and punch. However, more than that, I like a non-fatiguing midrange and treble.

Based on my budget and tastes, I have shortlisted the following speakers:

Floorstander:
Energy C-300 ($250 / pair)
C-300 Tower Speaker - Overview
User comments:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=16096916&highlight=300+speaker+review#post16096916
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=630450&highlight=300+speaker+review#post8162

Bookshelves:
Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 ($280/pair + $70 stands)
Wharfedale

Cambridge Audio S30 ($120 / pair + $70 stands)
Cambridge Audio S30 speaker review Hi-fi speaker review - from the experts at whathifi.com

Tannoy F1 Custom ($270 +$70 stands)
Tannoy Mercury Custom F1 Hi-fi speaker review - from the experts at whathifi.com

All these speakers are much below their normal prices because of various closeout sales and I have to act pretty fast to be able to purchase one.

I have read great reviews on all 3 bookshelves from AV magazines. I have also heard good things about the C-300 from friends as well as user reviews, which describe it as a 'neutral to warm, laid-back' speaker.

What I would like advice on is the following:
1. Are the 9.1s really that good that it is worth spending $100 more (with stands) as opposed to going for a floorstander? And in general, if the floorstander is good, is it worth paying extra for the stands and bookshelf?

2. Has anyone owned/heard/reviewed the C-300 or C-500? I know Energy is a reputed company and their RC and Veritas series are well received.

3. Is the S30 at $120 a good bargain? It normally goes for $220 odd. What will I lose (apart from low freq) when compared to the other two models.

4. Tannoy seems to be fav for WHiFi. Has anyone listened to it personally and liked it?


My listening room is 10 ft x 9 ft but I am not looking for loud, room filling speakers. Rather I'm looking for budget, musical speakers that I can be happy listening to for the next 3-4 years without feeling the need to change or crib about them. Your inputs are appreciated since I will only have them as a benchmark. If I had more time, I may have taken a day off to go out of town to auditon the models but distance and time are against me here.

Thank you again for all your advice and help.

~Rs.
 
Last edited:

marsilians

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Hi Resonance

Being honest here. It would be hard to get "good music" out of the Denon + any of the speakers you listed.

Would you mind the used market as there are tons of options for any budget with the economy as it is. I could point you to some optoins.


Hello,

A friend recommended me to this forum for 'sound' advice on anything hifi.
I'm based in the US currently and on a tight budget, looking to upgrade my front speakers in a 5.1 setup. I have a Denon 1507 AVR (75 w) with an Oppo 980H as source. The 5.1 speaker setup consists of JBL speakers (Northridge series)with a 10 in. JBL sub. The setup is allright for home-theatre use but is miserable for music.

I now have a little bit saved up and wanted to upgrade my current front speakers to something more musically oriented. The place where I stay does not unfortunately have any decent audition shops within driving distance for the speakers I have shortlisted. My musical tastes are quite general, from Indian classical to Jazz to Film music to Rock. So I wanted a speaker which is neutral to warm, with detail and resolution. I am not into heavy bass but I prefer a system which has some bass depth along with good timing and punch. However, more than that, I like a non-fatiguing midrange and treble.

Based on my budget and tastes, I have shortlisted the following speakers:

Floorstander:
Energy C-300 ($250 / pair)
C-300 Tower Speaker - Overview
User comments:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=16096916&highlight=300+speaker+review#post16096916
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=630450&highlight=300+speaker+review#post8162

Bookshelves:
Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 ($280/pair + $70 stands)
Wharfedale

Cambridge Audio S30 ($120 / pair + $70 stands)
Cambridge Audio S30 speaker review Hi-fi speaker review - from the experts at whathifi.com

Tannoy F1 Custom ($270 +$70 stands)
Tannoy Mercury Custom F1 Hi-fi speaker review - from the experts at whathifi.com

All these speakers are much below their normal prices because of various closeout sales and I have to act pretty fast to be able to purchase one.

I have read great reviews on all 3 bookshelves from AV magazines. I have also heard good things about the C-300 from friends as well as user reviews, which describe it as a 'neutral to warm, laid-back' speaker.

What I would like advice on is the following:
1. Are the 9.1s really that good that it is worth spending $100 more (with stands) as opposed to going for a floorstander? And in general, if the floorstander is good, is it worth paying extra for the stands and bookshelf?

2. Has anyone owned/heard/reviewed the C-300 or C-500? I know Energy is a reputed company and their RC and Veritas series are well received.

3. Is the S30 at $120 a good bargain? It normally goes for $220 odd. What will I lose (apart from low freq) when compared to the other two models.

4. Tannoy seems to be fav for WHiFi. Has anyone listened to it personally and liked it?


My listening room is 10 ft x 9 ft but I am not looking for loud, room filling speakers. Rather I'm looking for budget, musical speakers that I can be happy listening to for the next 3-4 years without feeling the need to change or crib about them. Your inputs are appreciated since I will only have them as a benchmark. If I had more time, I may have taken a day off to go out of town to auditon the models but distance and time are against me here.

Thank you again for all your advice and help.

~Rs.
 

Resonance

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Hi Marsilians,
Thanks for the quick response. I am not averse looking at options for the Denon. But I wanted to take it one step at a time. And currently, my JBL fronts are the weakest link in this chain, since I've tried them with different AVRs and their sound does not improve.
So, if you have options for used avr, I'm game. But I still want to upgrade the speakers as a priority and also because of the closeout dates. Any help/recommendations on the speaker front will be welcome as well.
 

gobble

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What I would like advice on is the following:
1. Are the 9.1s really that good that it is worth spending $100 more (with stands) as opposed to going for a floorstander? And in general, if the floorstander is good, is it worth paying extra for the stands and bookshelf?

~Rs.

Hello

I haven't heard the other speakers but WF 9.1 is good and people say for its price it beats many book shelves priced much higher. General advice floating around is to get good BS rather than a cheap FS. You can add an WF sw150 sub later when budget permits.
Its certainly one of the best you can get in its price class and you can be assured you are getting a winner when you pick it.

HTH
Cheers
 

venkatcr

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Though the Tannoys and Wharfedales are favorite with many of us here, being in the US, you have many more options.

I have personally used both the PSB Alpha B1, and the Aperion Audio 532 LR. The 532 LR has now been replaced with the Intimus 5B (The Best Small Bookshelf Speaker of your Life - Intimus 5B - Aperion Audio). Both sound excellent for both movies and music.

A third compnay that is very popular at this price range is Axiom (Bookshelf Speakers - Axiom Audio) Axiom is a bit more expensive as compared to PSB and Aperion Audio. All three models have consistently won awards. PSB and Aperion have also been reviewed favourably by Stereophile.

Both Aperion and Axiom give you 30 day risk free trial at home. They also give you free shipping.

Cheers
 

Resonance

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Thanks to Venkat and Gobble for the advice. I looked at the Aperion Intimus you mentioned Venkat, which seems like a great speaker at $450 / pair.
Unfortunately, it's a bit out of my price range (~350$ maximum).
The PSB seems to be lacking a little in the lower frequencies (65 Hz) though I know specs are not the whole story. But it's sound seems a little too rounded for my tastes
I am concentrating on bookshelves (no Energy floorstander now), given my limited budget and your opinions. So, given that the s30s are available to me at $120 (shipped) vrs. the 9.1s (or F1s) at ~$280 (shipped), is it worth the extra $160 to go for the diamonds? I have heard good AV reviews about both but a user opinion would really help. I know the s30s will have less bass than the other two but as far as detail, midrange warmth and treble go, is there a great difference from the s30s to the 9.1s? I have a 10 in. JBL sub to compensate for the lower octaves.

Since I don't really have a chance to audition these, your pointers will really help me make my choice.

Thanks to all in advance,

-Rs.
 

BLASTO

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So, given that the s30s are available to me at $120 (shipped) vrs. the 9.1s (or F1s) at ~$280 (shipped), is it worth the extra $160 to go for the diamonds?

Hi Resonance,

The 9.1s go for ~12k here in india (approx $240) and the S30s for ~9k (approx $180). The difference is just $60. All the reviews/comparisons in this forum will point to having the above prices in mind. 9.1s are very good VFM for the exra $60 spent.

Also, a big chunk of the $60 spent goes for the low end capabilities of 9.1s which you dont need as you have a dedicated sub.

But, Will a 9.1 command 2 1/2 times the price of S30s as you mentioned (120$ vs 280$)? Is spending $160 over S30s for the 9.1s worth? NO. NO!

If you can auditon, I will strongly recommend you to audition and decide on the purchase if $160 extra is worth the experience. It becomes a choice of personal preference in that case. If not, you are going by huristics and reviews and the S30 turn out to be a no brainer choice.

P.S: BTW, is 280$ the best you can get? How come the 9.1s cost so much in the US?

Thanks,
 
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Resonance

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Re: Choosing between CA S30 and Wharfedale Evo 20

Thanks to all for the inputs. I had just about chosen the CA s30 but before I hit the 'Purchase' button, I have an offer from a friend of mine who is selling his Wharfedale Evo 20 floorstanders for ~$335 (which is just about the high end of my budget). They are only 6 months old and he is moving to smaller place and can't take them along.

So now I have a new question:
Given that I have a Denon 1507, will it do justice to the Evo's? I am not talking in terms of power ratings or sensitivity but rather in terms of whether it will allow the musicality of the Evo 20 to come through? If not, is it better to stick to budget speakers like s30 or 9.1s ($150 or so) and spend the extra money ($200) on music/cables/etc.?

My friend was powering these through a Rotel stereo amp and he is very happy with their performance. But I am not sure about whether my humble budget setup will be good enough for them. The 1507 is a capable and good AVR for my use so far and I don't plan to upgrade it for the next 2 years at least.

Thanks again for all the help so far. Please help me choose since both my friend and the closeout sales will not be here long :eek:

-Rs
 

Resonance

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P.S: BTW, is 280$ the best you can get? How come the 9.1s cost so much in the US? Thanks,

Blasto,
I think it is becase Wharfedale does not have a good distribution network in the US. It is competitively priced in UK and Aus. In US, prices are steep. Energy is well priced because it is Canadian and shipping is easy. Some US sites are selling the 9.1 for $350 which is madness compared to Indian prices.

-Rs.
 

marsilians

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Axiom Audio also has a factory direct stock and many many people I have spoken to do not see any blemishes on them at all. This come with a 10% discount on top.

Given the free shipping + 10% discount + 30 day free trial for a pair of M2 bookshelves for ~310 USD is a pretty phenomenol deal. I guess you may also save on some taxes to boot!
 

venkatcr

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Re: Choosing between CA S30 and Wharfedale Evo 20

So now I have a new question:
Given that I have a Denon 1507, will it do justice to the Evo's? I am not talking in terms of power ratings or sensitivity but rather in terms of whether it will allow the musicality of the Evo 20 to come through? If not, is it better to stick to budget speakers like s30 or 9.1s ($150 or so) and spend the extra money ($200) on music/cables/etc.?

I think the 1507 will be grossly underpowered for the EVo's. They are beautiful speakers, though. If you try to increase the volume, the amp may start clipping quite quickly. I would suggest the following. If you friend is nearby. take the 1507 to his house during a weekend, connect it to the Evo's and see how they perform. If you are able to reach good volume (something like 75 to 80dB on an SPL meter) without straining the amp, you are good to go. Take a Radio Shack SPL meter along.

If this does not work out, stick to the S30's.

Cheers
 

Resonance

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Venkat,

Thanks for the suggestion. My friend is not so close that I can drop in over the weekend for the test you describe. I will have to decide this solely on member opinions and experience. My friends Rotel amp is a 100 watt stereo piece.

The 1507 is 75 watts rated but I don't know how optimistic that rating is. It seems to go pretty loud for my current JBLs (89 dB sensitivity) at even
-10 db on its volume display (goes from -80 to +18 db). So far I have never needed to turn it past -8 or -10 db for any music I listen to.

On the other hand, the Evos are pretty big and have 86 db at 6 ohms, so they are not an easy load to drive. And the Denon is not known for huge current drive unlike say a Harman Kardon.

Any members (including Venkat) who own, have listened to Wharfedale Evos,
(10, 20 or 30 models), can you recall what amps they were driven by? If I have that info, I can at least gauge the minimum 'class' of amp needed for them to work their best. So far, it seems the 1507 may not cut it and I don't want to spend my money on great speakers powered by a mismatched amplifier section.

Sorry for all the questions. You all have been a great help so far.


-Rs.
 

adder

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well the cambridge audio s30 speakers is a gem,at that price even in india its a steal,u can also check out the SL30 speaker its the higher end version of S30 with a bigger driver,also check out the CA S70 floorstanding speakers.
 

mnemonic

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Hi Resonance-

I own a pair of Evo-2-30's and I use a Yamaha 863 to drive them. The 863 has been doing a great job of driving these Evos and I dont get beyong the -20 level in the Yamaha while listening to CDs. The Evo's are highly competent and have drivers that are much better than that of the Diamonds. The bass in my Evo is tight and not Boomy as in the Diamonds. They image excellently and vocals are brilliant. I think the price point is excellent for the Evo20's and apart from the powering bit, I heartily recommend the Evos.
 

gobble

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The Evo's are highly competent and have drivers that are much better than that of the Diamonds. The bass in my Evo is tight and not Boomy as in the Diamonds.

Which diamond did you find boomy? The 9.1 or 9.2 certainly isn't. Was it the 9.5? :)

Cheers
 

psychotropic

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I've heard the S30s as well......i didn't do a proper audition, just listened to some Hotel California type rubbish that the store guy played for me (from a Yamaha CDP and a CA 540A amplifier), and it sounded quite good, and he was selling it for Rs. 7000 bucks a pair, at which price it sounded brilliant. I suspect the Diamond 9.1s will outperform them though, but that will depend on your source and amplification, and considering you're using a Denon AVR, the advantages of the Wharfedale probably won't be very apparent, and keeping that price difference in mind, the S30 would probably be a compelling option.
 

Shuvc

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I've heard the S30s as well......i didn't do a proper audition, just listened to some Hotel California type rubbish that the store guy played for me (from a Yamaha CDP and a CA 540A amplifier), and it sounded quite good, and he was selling it for Rs. 7000 bucks a pair, at which price it sounded brilliant.
Was this an authorised dealer of fxentertainment? Any idea about the MRP of the S30?
 

psychotropic

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yup, this was Cressida AV Zone in Chennai. Of course, he throws around prices quite carelessly when he's talking up a product, so 7k might actually be 7.5k or 8k.
 
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