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Final Remarks

This is a nice system for a number of reasons.  One of the best is that it's relatively cheap.  With that, one would expect poor sound quality.  However, with proper crossover design and good construction techniques, together with the fact that the drivers are good quality for their cost, we end up with a very nice sounding set of speakers.  How good?  The bass is solid down to around 40 Hz, the midrange is fairly smooth and detailed, and the high end is unstrained.  They sound good in a home theater, even without a sub.  Music listening is also quite good.  The midrange of the center channel  is particularly well suited for handling vocals, and has surprisingly good response down to about 45 Hz.  While these speakers wouldn't stand up to a $5000 system, they definitely sound better than some $1000-$2000 systems I've heard (i.e. Bose).  They compare quite well to mid range ($300-$500/pair) commercial quality systems (Boston Accoustic, Definitive, Accoustic Research, etc.).  With that in mind, let's unveil the total system cost.  The main/surround speakers end up costing about $125/pair.  The center channel rings in at about $75.  That makes a grand total of something like $325 - less than the cost of one pair of commercial mid range bookshelf speakers.  I can almost gaurantee that they look better, also!

My living room isn't set up particularly well for speaker placement, but I've managed to position them well enough to enjoy the benefits of surround sound.  The center channel is placed on a shelf just above the TV.  I built the entertainment center with the speaker in mind, and therefore the positioning is quite good.  The right and left main speakers are mounted on small shelves that are attached to the sides of the entertainment center.  When placed on the shelves in the entertainment center, the sound field seemed a little too narrow.  Moving them out nearly a foot made a huge difference.  I opted to mount them to the entertainment center to eliminate speaker stands.  We have a little one who will soon be grabbing and pulling on things.  A 30 lb. speaker on a stand isn't a good idea under these circumstances.  The surround speakers are mounted on the wall above the main listening area.  They are mounted with brackets, so they can be positioned properly.  Of course, I have a sub for the low end, so that rounds out the system.  After a little setup with the receiver and DVD player, I now have a great sounding home theater.

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