HT peakers for Marantz SR5200

Hi, I've just purchased a Marantz SR5200 for my small room home theatre (probably 10 x 12 feet). I'm seeking to increment above the built-in speakers in the Sony XBR. Will need 2 front, center, 2 rear, and a sub. Forget state-of-the-art, I'm simply seeking an engaging fun system that avoids classic problems of cheap home theatre - nasal sound and one-note boomy bass - and I hope to minimize the expense in the process. This is for movies, mainly, and perhaps music DVD's. The SR5200 is not a hugely powerful amp (5 x 90 on paper) but given the size of room, I am hopeful. What do you recommend? : - )

Do you plan to mount the speakers on the walls, on stands or use floorstanding speakers? Actually, you could also use a combination of the above.

Next, what is your budget? You can buy all of the speakers now, or you could start with a pair of higher quality L&R main speakers and add the surrounds/center/sub as more funds become available.

Do you have an "style" consideration? Some, uh, "significant others" won't tolerate large or "obvious" speakers in their room.

Anyway, there are lots of choices based on your answers to the above questions. Let us know some of your considerations and I'm sure you'll get some good responses.


Thanks TIC (or is it "Reubent"?). Given that it's a small room, the look and footprint are substantial issues. I would love for the speakers to be small and wall mounted, but, I am so skeptical of the possibility of these sounding good that I have not considered it. Please do let me know if there are good sounding small wall mounted units! Outside of that possibility, I definitely prefer smaller speakers to large ones, but I think in terms of footprint, especially the width. So to me a narrow tall speaker is not more intrusive than than a narrow mini-monitor on a stand. But a high quality mini-monitor can cost the same as a mediocre floor-stander, so, I'm open to suggestion here. My reason for wanting to limit investment is simply that I've learned through long experience with audio systems that the upgrade path is endless, but, there typically is a threshold for you to really enjoy the sound. Above that threshold you can hear the differences in a/b comparisons, but, on it's own either is fine. Like, I can hear how much more detail I get with Valhalla than with my current interconnects, but, to me the Audience sound so wonderful that I don't see the need to tie up that extra capital. And yes I could consider just buying a pair of fronts and a sub now, waiting on the others, if you think that is a good idea. (Isn't the center pretty crucial though?). Thank you for your feedback, I truly appreciate it. BTW, I've been impressed in stores with a brief exposure to "Energy" speakers in home theatre, what's the word on these?
Hey Art,

It's TIC (Tom In Cincinnati) on most forums, but someone else has that username here. It's just habit for me to sign off as TIC.

I originally thought you were a noob, but I checked your other post for "reference". I can see you are in a similar situation to me. I've been "shrinking" my system and expenditure too. My 2-channel rig is down to a Quad 99 cd-p w/volume control, a pair of BottleHead Paramour 2A3 SET mono-blocks and a pair of Reference 3A MM DeCapos on stands. Sounds great and was easy on the budget.

OK, so about HT speakers, I use on-wall Jamo Art 510s because they are out of the way, perform fairly well and I get Jamos for 50% of list through a buying club. However, my HT system is in the same room as my 2-channel rig, so getting the speakers up and out of the way was a priority for me.

I've never heard the Energys, but here are a couple of different recommendations:

HSU Ventriloquist/STF-2 combo for $559 direct from HSU. This tiny system has gotten great reviews for the price.

Athena Loudspeakers on sale from AudioAdvisor $359 for the main/floorstanders, plus center and surrounds. Add a HSU or Riva sub. The Athenas have gotten excellent reviews and they are at least 90db eff. No problem with your low(ish) powered receiver.

Complete Pioneer Iso-Drive System (S-DC1-K, S-DS1-H, S-DF1-K, S-DW1-K). Yes, I know the old saying, "never buy speakers from an electronics manufacturer", but the ISO-drive setup is a bargain at under $500 new (web retailers). I have owned the center, surrounds and sub and they are a bargain. The line is designed by some ex-KEF engineers, but it never caught on with the buying public, hence the price. I've owned lower end Paradigm and I think the Pioneer Iso-Drive line is as good, or better (IMHO) for about half the price.

These are just 3 examples of good, budget setups. I currently use 3 Jamo ART510s for fronts and center, a pair of the Pioneer Iso-Drive S-DS1-H surrounds and an NHT SubOne(i), which is really good(better than the Pioneer S-DW1-K or HSU VTF-2 that I previously owned IMHO). These were realitively inexpensive and sound great for HT powered by my Sony STR-DA4ES receiver. The system isn't so great for music, but hey, I have an awesome 2-channel rig in the same room!


Thanks TIC. Hey, Pioneer, who would have thought it. Thanks for the tip about Athena, I've seen the ads but never seen any reviews so I did not know what to think. How to you like the Ref 3a's for music?
The R3A DeCapo is a really nice speaker. It is not the last word in resolution, but that makes it a better "real world" speaker IMHO. It has excellent bass extension and control for a monitor. I also like the fact that it works well with almost any amplifier. I currently power them with 3.5 watts of 2A3 tube power, but I've used other SS amps (even my HT receiver) with great results. BTW, I just purchased a pair of Channel Islands VMB-1 mono-blocks which are a "gainclone" type of chip amp. I would like to have these SS amps replace the Paramours as I have a new pair of "tiny hands" in the house. I want my child (and my amps) to be safe!

About the Pioneers: These are decent speakers and are a bargain at the web prices. I still own the surrounds and I think the sub and center are great values. If you want a full set of 5.1 speakers for under $600, these would be very good.

There used to be a decent magazine/web-zine review floating around, but I haven't been able to find it recently. The Pioneers are so much better than anything "mass-market" that I've heard at anything near the same price.


The Hsu Ventriloquist/STF2 recommended above has garnered many accolades.
You should also put the Rocket Tyke on your list. You can get B-stock system in excellent condition for $199. I have them and like them quite a lot. The integration with the compact but decent subwoofer is seamless.
Another good choice is the Mordaunt-Short Genie. This system should cost more than the Tyke and should be available through Marantz dealers.
Good luck.
The Hsu and Rocket Tyke both look interesting at the price. Where are the Hsu accolades? Which would you recommend? The Genie looks great but at $1300 I'd be looking at larger speakers which tend to have more grace, no?
Accolades here. I have the VT-12 these on loan from Hsu to take to an audio geek, consumer direct products, gathering in Austin. I was very skeptical but they really have impressed me. The shifting the mid-bass to the CC for the front really works. On LoTR FoTR they excelled at sound effects but how well they handled the dynamic score was surprising. For HT only I think you'll be quite pleased. If not they have a 30 in home trial period.

I may be able to report on the Tykes after next week. Not sure if they will be on hand.
There are a bunch of "lifestyle" speakers out there (not a bad word now like it was when Bose was the only choice). Gallo, Energy, Canton (, Athena, Infinity and others give you good sound from small boxes...

Do the lifestyle speakers have some inherent flaws? I've been assuming that they would be midrange deficint and kind of thin sounding, given that you have small drivers covering the mids and then switch to a sub. Also I've noticed that larger speakers tend to sound more graceful. But given a small room those lifestyle speakers are sure tempting!