Need help with Spica TC-50 / Kinergetics setup

I have an older speaker set (circa 1988) and looking for someone who can help me make my system a little more bigger sounding.

I'm hoping someone knows about (i.e. "remembers") the Spica TC-50s and Kinergetics SW-200 subs and can help me out with getting more out of them. This is one of the few online forums where I found reference to the speakers anywhere! The Spica / Kinergetics were always rated very high for vocals, but maybe aren't the best for home theatre:

Main: Spica TC-50's
Sub: Kinergetics SW-200
Surround: Jamo 80(?)
Center: None.
Amp: Harmon Kardon AV300

I'm not a super audiophile (in fact I know very little!), but would like a good sounding theatre system with a lot more punch. It seems like the bass is easily overwhelmed and the kinergetics clip very easily with my current set up.

Is there anyone out there that remembers the Spica / Kinergetics and can give me advice to make my system more exciting?!

Am I expecting too much from my speakers?
Would a center speaker help? What would be a good match?
Do I need a better amp?

Any advice would be appreciated!


Most likely it is your amp that is running out of steam, not the kinergetics. The spicas were great speakers, but playing loud was not what they were about. You might want to try a powered subwoofer or a bigger amp for the kinergetics.
The Kinergetics do have their own separate amp. I go from the subwoofer pre-amp out on the HK receiver to the input on the Kinergetics amp. I don't know that much about the electronics and what causes clipping (besides something is being overloaded), but I'd guess that the Kinergetics amp is what is clipping. Like you said, I think they were made for accurate sound reproduction but not for simulating a spaceship landing in your living room.

Do you think I'd be better trying to sell my Spicas / Kinergetics and getting speakers more designed for home theatre? Is there a market for selling the Spicas and Kinergetics anymore?!

I'll post another thread to see what people could recommend as a different speaker set more designed for home theatre and how much a decent system would be.

I'm know I'm quite the newbie, so I appreciate your help!

There is definitely a market for Tc-50s in good condition. I own Spica angelus, and I will not part with them. I am more doubtful that there is a market for your subwoofers. I think you could possibly get $300 for the tc-50s.

Spicas excel at imaging and subtlety, but are not so good at bass, high volumes or dynamics. If your interest is primarily home theater and you're more interested in dynamics and bass then I think you should sell the spicas and get something more suited to your tastes.

If you really like the sound of the spicas and would like to fill in the bass and add a little more dynamics I can suggest a used REL strata subwoofer. I use this with my angelus. It is a self powered subwoofer, so it eases the load on your amplifier and mates perfectly with the main speakers. The only down side is that they cost upwards of $700, even when used.

I hope this has been helpful.
Thanks for your input.

I keep reading about how the TC-50s are "legendary" at imaging so I wonder if I trade them in if I'll be disappointed with the sound stage? Maybe a different sub will give me a little more punch. The Kinergetics were specifically designed to use with the Spicas so you'd think they would give a little more.

I think you're right that I am leaning more towards dynamics and bass for this particular system since it's mostly used for watching movies. I'll have to do some homework on what might be a more appropriate system without breaking the bank. It's all a bit overwhelming!

Thanks again for your input.

I have found that spicas need to be at least 2-3 feet from rear and side walls and that I have to sit at a distance roughly equal to the spacing of the speakers (I have a 5' equilateral triangle).
Only then do I get the imaging ... but wow, what imaging.

For reference I borrowed some Spendor S3/5 minimonitors from a friend for a weekend. These are a relatively new design and get great reviews, and cost about $900 a pair new. In short my spica angelus were far, far better speakers in just about every respect, especially in imaging.

I came away from this realizing that I;d have to spend a lot of money to better the spicas on imaging and microdynamics, though I could probably better them on bass, loudness and macrodynamics for about $500.

If you just want loud and bass then probably $500 should replace the tc-50s, but if you want loud, with more bass and dynamics AND anything approaching spica imaging/soundstage I think you should prepare to part with more than $1000. If you have that kind of money then Green Mountain Audio Europas seem to be the speaker that all of the ex-spica people are raving about. I've never heard them myself (I don't have that kind of money to burn :-( )
I may be a little tight in my current room configuration. The speakers are only about 18" from the back wall and one is that far from a side wall.

I remember in my old apartment where they were more in the open and being blown away with the sound stage. When I closed my eyes, it sounded like the singer was up on stage in front of me. Wild! I don't get that much in my current configuration (although we are hoping to expand the room in the next few months and I wonder if the sound will change).

What $500 speakers do you suggest I look at?

I wish I could just add a little more "umph!" to the Spicas for movie watching. I still question if the kinergetics are just not performing optimally either due to restricted power or placement or something...
I'm afraid that I can't help with the kinergetics. It could be the room ... some rooms just suck out the bass. It could be that your amplifier is running out of power (passive subs must really suck current from a power amp).

I do know that a REL strata will complement the tc-50s very well, and may well give you what you're looking for overall. Musicality with a bit of grunt. However it will probably set you back a bit. Mine cost $800 used. No it's not for sale ! :-)

Something of a compromise between the spica imaging and having a bit more bass might be a used pair of Epos es-14s, though these are rear ported and will have to be a couple of feet from the rear walls. They're nice speakers and are about $500 or less used. Other possibilities are Mission 753s. If you really want bass then I liked B&W DM603s ... real rockers, but not for classical.
I think you have an old, but, realy nice little music system there. In that regard I would suggest a better amp for the Spicas. Neither the Spicas or the Kinergetics was really designed for home theatre. The Kinergetics was intended to augment speakers like the Spicas (which are not know for their bombastic dynamics, quite the opposite) with a bit more bottom and touch more punch for the typical small music system of its day. Heck DVD's weren't even around when this stuff was introduced. I'm sure I'm not alone, when I say that I'd hate to talk you out of keeping this stuff. It would be very hard to get a comparable music system for it's present day value. If you have your heart set on home theatre (I can offer a multitude of reasons why I would suggest reconsidering, but, that not my place) perhaps some other gear might serve you better. You might want to have a tech look at the Kinergetics.
Thanks for the input. Seems the consensus is that, although a good speaker set for music, the Spica / Kinergetics just aren't for home theater. And that maybe my Kinergetics have a power supply problem on top of everything else.

Can anyone suggest a good tech in the SF Area? (maybe I should repost a thread in "tech talk")
I noticed that you posted that one speaker is the same distance from the back wall as it is from the side wall. Am I correct to assume that your speakers are not set up from the center of a wall, and the speakers have different distances from rear and/or side walls. As your set up is in a square room, having the same distance from side to rear is compounding that problem. If each speaker has a different distance from the rear wall you might have slight inequity in bass response. If each speaker, has a different distance to side walls you may have image shift or even a spectral discrepency where one side may seem brighter than the other. Perhaps you can describe the positioning of your system and your listening position. May I humbly suggest playing with an unorthodox set up, where your listening position and system is set up diagonaly across the room, where your speakers would both have the same distance from the slanting rear wall and the same (but different from the previous distance) from the slanting side walls. This would allow your video monito to be placed further back from the plane of you speakers (good) and might facilitate another Spica TC50's proper equidistant set back for a center channel (good). There may be some other advantges that due to the fact I'm only guessing at, I'll keep to myself. Play with this before purchasing that center channel. This may make things sound better. Of course it may make things sound worse.
Hey, you're in SF area. If you're interested, and if you're anywhere near Fremont then feel free to email and drop by to hear my Spica Angelus / REL strata setup. It might give you an idea about whether a better sub would fix things.
Seems like the consensus is that with the good imaging Spica's, that a center channel would only make things worse.

I posted in my other thread that it seems like just the right sub speakers are having the problem and was wondering if room configuration can actually make the speakers have the problem I'm having. Check out the thread here for what I've observed: htech&1069370656&openusid&zzRobotman&4&&

(If the link doesn't work, it's in the tech talk under "what causes clipping?")

The room is a bit hard to describe because there is about a 2' room divider. The left speaker sits in the "corner" of the room divider and the back wall. The front of the left speakers are basically up to the end of the divider.

The room the set up is in is about 15' deep and 20' wide (but the divider is at 15'). The entire room is next to a larger room.

Not sure if that makes sense. No one has told me yet if room size can actually cause speakers to jackhammer like my right subs are or if I have an actual speaker problem... check out my other thread for a description.

Thanks for your help!