4.5k on speakers for 5.1 surround. NHT way to go?

Hi Folks:
My good friend is considering a deal for $4.5k for new NHT VT-3 front speakers, VR3 rear speakers and VC3 center channel. Retail on the speakers would typically be $9k. Seems like a pretty good deal, especially considering that the VT-3s seem to be highly regarded (Stereophile Guide to HT Class AAA, for what it's worth). Still, I'm wondering whether other, potentially cheaper or used options would get better performance for less money. Speaker set up would be for movies 90% of the time. At this point, the speakers would be driven by a mid-level receiver like a Denon 4800, but upgrades may follow over time. Anyway, any advice or guidance would be welcome. Cheers,
NHTs are a strong value at their list price. At the mentioned price they are particularly attractive. They are full range, dynamic and relatively easy to drive. They will respond positively to higher quality amplification, but don't demand it. Other than being big and kind of ugly, the NHTs really don't have a downside. I am a past owner of NHT 3.3s. (I always cringe when people heap praise on products that they eventually got rid of, but here I am doing it.)
If your friend likes the NHT sound, consider picking up some of the older Focused Image Geometry line used -- these are GREAT speakers and are very reasonable used. The VT-3's sound like a great deal, but I question the decision to pair $9000 worth of speakers with a Denon receiver unless significant amplification upgrades are definitely coming -- the Denon just won't drive those speakers to their full capacity.

Your friend could do 3.3s in the front, 2.3As in the rear (older models with soft tweeters) and either a SuperCenter or a pair of 1.3As wired in parallel (if using RPTV, you can get away with putting the 1.3As on the sides of the TV without distortion from the magnets) for under $3K used, then use the extra money to do seperate pre/pro and amps rather than buying the Denon receiver.

I think this overall system would be MUCH more enjoyable for the same amount of money.
There has been a ton of talk about Rocket loudspeakers providing some phenomenal bang for the buck. You can pretty much go all out for their best system less than $2200. The saving would allow you to get a top-end subwoofer to go along with them!

YEs, ESPECIALLY FOR A RECEIVER BASED SYSTEM, you really won't get any better POTENTIAL PERFORMANCE (all depends on how well you can set em up in a given room and dial em in) than POWERED speakers like the NHT VT3's for HT/music! They are superb all around, and will dynamically DESTROY most traditional monitors out there for HT playback and overall dynamics! The Built in powered woofers are a real advantage over standard full range passive speakers overall, and just have more GUTS to the sound. Yes, you can, if set up properly, get the same excellent results from a standard sub/sat system, with active subwoofer(s), but it's usually more difficult for people to do as well. When DEF TECH came along and started pushing the POWERED speakers, this really made some good strides for the HT market especially. And, given that alot of people are using the relatively weak and underfpowered receivers to drive HT systems, this kind of approach is a MAJOR advantage in overall performance from a bass/dyanmics stand point. Stereo bass also has it's advantages, and the dual 500 watt carver amps in those 4 10" woofers should have some great potential in modest domestic rooms. The overall sound from the NHT's should be about as good as you can expect if you do things right. And it will make your receiver sound like it's REALLY REALLY strong sounding run full range! Also, the speakers are pretty clear, neutral, and refined sounding through out.
I used to own the Similarly rated Infinity MTS prelude speakers with powered 800 watt subs, and they were also dynamite for HT and music dubties! These kinds of speakers offer generally more potenital for people than your traditional audiophile speakers for doing a 5.1 set up. Get all matching speakers, set em up well, and you'll be rewarded with great sound!
I guess what I"m saying is I think there's NO WAY you'd be dissapointed with the speakers, unless you just did a horriific job of placing the speakers and just SUCKED IT ALL UP that way! Which, may I ad is ALL TOO COMMON among inexperienced audio enthusiests, and the UNINFORMED in regards to setting up systems properly. If you spend time with each speaker, and different listening possitions, pay attention to acoustics and such, you should get good reslults, from otherwise EXCELLENT SPEAKERS! If you have a rather LARGE room to put em in, you'll also have an easier time getting good sound from them as well.
Hello Outlier,
I just put this together, it may work for your friend : NHT3.3 ($1350 bought on audiogon) NHT AC2 ($400 bought on A/gon) this is the DEAD match center channel for NHT 3.3's. Center channel matching IS always critical.Almost all effects come or go thur center channel, so a close match to front L/R main speaker I feel is extremely critical to keeping effects flowing with out major timbre changes. The NHT AC2's HAVE THE EXACT SAME DRIVERS AS NHT 3.3, except no 12 inch woofers They are shielded for placing directly on TV and come in a beautiful black piano lacquer gloss finish. For the rears I selected NHT 1.5's (bought new for $275 from ONCALL), they match the fronts very well.Lets see thats $2025 for the speakers.With the left over $2500 I might considering selling the Denon 4800 and adding the $$$$ to your $2500 kitty and purchasing a used Denon 5803(I think 170watt/channel)The NHT's are a bit power hungry and can use the extra horse power of the 5803 Denon.And for speaker wire LAT International SS1000D excellent value and sound great. One word of caution: the rear of the NHT3.3 MUST be placed within 3inches of a very firm wall or woofer's will not couple and speaker will sound somewhat bright and lean.This is the way NHT designed them.Hope this helps.

PS your right NO STINKING SUBWOOFER. just sold my 18inch Velodyne
I started with the NHT SuperOnes, Supercenter, and Subone in a 5.1 setup and upgraded to (6) NHT VR3, an NHT AC2 (the difference between the AC2 and the Supercenter is a no brainer) and a Sunfire True Sub Signature for 7.1. I haven't heard the VT3's but my experience with NHT has made me a loyal customer. The NHT's are power hungry and when I upgraded to a Sunfire Cinema Grand Amp, I noticed a tremendous difference in dynamic range, imaging and soundstage. I am using an Onkyo 787 receiver as a preamp with Sunfire Cinema Grand and an Adcom GFA-5500 to power my 7 channels (will be upgrading to the Sunfire Signature Amp and keeping my Cinema Grand to run my rears and side-axis speakers - Sunfire Theater Grand III should be at my door tommorrow). You can buy new VR3's and a VC3 for $400 each, get a B-stock Sunfire True Sub Sig from Stero Trading Outlet for $1275 (awesome sub when crossover is set below 60 hz - I run the VR3's full range will crossover about 50-55 hz for tight bass for music and heart pounding bass for movies), and buy a used Sunfire Cinema Grand for $1000 on Audiogon for $3475 and continue to use your Denon as a pre-amp. Of course cables and interconnects will also make a big difference in overall sound and I would recommend using the remaining money on good quality interconnects and speaker wires (you can focus on the front three channels first). Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval Interconnects and speaker wires would be a good place to use the remaining money.

I also was experimenting with the bipolar effect of the VT3's and have my NHT Superones on top of my VR3's facing the rear at an angle (you have to adjust according to your room acoustics) sitting on top of Blu-tak to reduce movement/vibrations and prefer this for movies and music (it broadens the soundstage if you aren't going to be the only one watching movies or listening to music). Superone's can be had new for $100 each. I will be experimenting with the surrounds the same way.

If you don't want to play around with your system like I do, I'm sure the VT3's will be the last speakers you will need to buy (the down side is they will make you want to upgrade everything else you have to push them to their potential and get the best sound possible).

Recommend NHT 100%!!
Hi Guys:
Thanks for all the advice. Well, my friend went ahead with the NHT option and is purchasing all five speakers including the VT3s as fronts. Looks like he'll have a great set-up. Cheers,