Would love opinions on my HT puzzle

I'm a new member and I want to say that I love this forum! All you folks out there seem very passonate about this community! Glad to be a member now...

OK, I have recently started to build my HT system... The first component was the addition of the Krell HTSII. I also just picked up a used Aerial CC3 for my center speaker. I am currently running an Aragon 4004 with Thiel CS3.5 speakers. They are the only components that I'm even considering keeping while I build the HT system. My goal is to buy as many "great" components online as I reasonably can, obviously for the cost saving benefits... I also would like to build over time, so I want to my smart acquisitions that give me the most flexibility too!

Here's my plan so far

Krell KAV 200a/5 and get rid of the Aragon or
Krell KAV 3250a/3 and use the Aragon for front or rear depending on speaker selection

Speakers: (If I go this way, considering using the Thiels for rear) Budget is < $5,000 new or used
Aerial 10t or
B&W Nautilus 803 or
Dynaudio Contour 3.3 or
Dynaudio Confidence 3 or
Aerial SR3 for rear and keep the Thiels for the front for now

Subwoofer: Budget is < $2,000 new or used
Revel B15 or

Pioneer Elite DV-37

I think that the speaker decission will drive the direction on amp options. I'd love some input from this forum! Thanks.
I would recommend that you try to match all five speakers with the same brand. I went with five Thiels and am very happy. My components, amps, sub-woofer and cabling all fell into place based on my speaker selection.
Glen is right...... It really makes the sound "seamless" when the speakers are well matched. This usually means all from the same manufacturer. good luck
I agree, thanks guys... I've auditioned the Dynaudio 3.3s but not the 10Ts... I will try and do so soon, but until then, any thoughts between the two? Both are in the same price category.
Welcome Patricksweeney;glad to have you on board.--Now knock it off with the questions!!-- Go to your online psychic--Hey she probably already knows you are about to call!!

Of most importance;the front 3 should all have the same voicing, for a smoother across the front transition. I had the 10's before I got my cc3; it "do" make it better.The rears can be compromised,till you can work things out.
Hard to disagree with the above luminaries. If you can match at least the front three speakers, I would. Owning the Aerials myself, I would tell you that going with the 10 t and the center would be a good fit. Similarly, if the Thiels fit your taste, a scs 3 as a center would be a good choice, with powerpoints in the back. I am not sure that the krell is a good fit with the Thiel. I would be biased towards the Aerial if you want to stick with Krell. Good luck.
I agree with all of the other posts. I would REALLY sit down and figure out what you like best i.e. your amp or speakers. As another poster comments, I think that the Thiel's will require different amps than what Ariel's would for optimum performance and system balance. Unless you want to spend a LOT of money, have some idea as to where you want to go before you get lost along the way. Otherwise, you'll end up just like the rest of us here : ) Sean

I not only custom design and engineer custom home theaters/rooms for a living, but I've extensive hands on experience with all the equipment you just mentioned. Actually, the Dynaudio pieces illude me a bit in terms of specific models however. Never the less, if you want truely top calibur surround results from your system, may I suggest the following points of consideration...
One, you have some nice equipment you mentioned, as equipment goes, to deal with for some good sonic results if you do it right!(?...I'll explain). Two, if you want any of this stuff to sound fantastic (not knowing your experience), you should definitely spend lot's of time getting the set-up right in that room! (including seating/acoustical considerations, etc). The room/set-up being at least half or more of the sound, this is of critical concern if you expect to get world class sound from ANY equipment!!(experience is extermely healpful here) Also, how big is you're room!?...this is very important to consider for equipment choices!
But, As far as you're equipment choices for your situation, I DEFINITELY concur with the previous votes for MATCHING speakers all around!!! (at the very very least the front 3) You're wasting your money/effort in achieving any semblence of a great surround/sonic experience otherwise.
The Deal with the Thiel 3.5's you're using, is that they may sound potentially nice and all on their own, but you can't get a matching center for the things!!! Only if you find a 3rd 3.5 can you get a seamless/believable sound across the front. (this probably won't work if you have a TV instead of a projector screen). YOu might get away with Ok results(but not the best) if you use em for rears (or second 2 channel only system), but I'd do others for best results in majority of set-ups. (in which case, sell the speakers or move em!). The Thiels, as with the others you mentioned, are also are a bit laid back, low sensitivity, and thus are a shade uninvolving for proper "cinematic" pressentation really (the antithesis of what you should hear from a great surround system) Higher sensitivity/more agressive speakers will your speakers won't adequately handle Dynamic Digital movie tracks "full range"! You'll need to cut em off at 80Hz or bellow, not taking full advantage of the monitor.(If that Krell had adjustable bass mngmt, you could cut em off at around 50-65 hz for much much better results, leting the sub(s) do the bottom). I've gotten very good results however (some compromises) using Thiel 2.3's and MCS1 center(same drivers) w/power point rears, using all Krell HTS and 250a amps!! While not maximized for absolute best bass managment choices, running all full range except the rears, w/additional sub(s), the result were very very detailed, pretty descent dynamics, and very enveloping! This system desperately needed some better bass managment flexibility, and the Aragon Soundstage proved much better option with the lower crossover points accessible! *(this takes the lowest bass off the speakers, and let's a dedicated powered sub handle the harder chores for way better results).
If You stay with a similar set-up of "full ranger's" all around with that Krell pre/pro, may I suggest an outboard Bass managment crossover by the likes of Outlaw audio! (this will have absolute minimum sonic degredation, with superlative dynamic benefits for HT!!!)
My suggestions, considering you get your 3.5 Thiels out of you're system (or front), I think you'd overall like the sound of what I just mentioned for HT dubties if you like that sound! The Ariels and Dynaudio's are all lower sensitivity speakers as well ,and ultimately prove to be about the same dyamic league as the Thiels!...all with similar results. The B&W's are a bit more sensitive, but ultimately these are all music speakers, that just won't maximize the HT experience as well as other choices to be a bit critical. If you do do get something like the B&W 803's, Biamping them will greatly add to the dyamics of the speaker however!.
Dedicated HT speakers will have a decided advantage for pressentation, dynamic focus, inteligibilty, and less room interaction!(coloration).
If you wanted to stay with the Krell amps and pre/pro, I'd suggest considering something like Wilson Cub II's if you could afford em! 3 of these very high sensetivity(94db!) Ultra HIgh end resolution monitors would be tremendous!!! Also Powered NHT VT3's and similar work extremely well if you got good room size to deal with. Triad Platinum's, Dunlavy's, Revel Gem's, work very well also. Getting into THX dedated movie speakers leads you down an "HT only" type of speaker that's not "house music" friendly however, and you're probably not looking at that option...? (If you notice, all the high end writers used dedicated HT speakers in their surround systems for a reason!!!). Other chioces to consider would depend greatly on you're room size/set-up. Whithout that info, it's hard to recomend speakers to a given room.
Anyway, a bit long winded but the speakers are of ut most importance to consider right now for you, especially depending on what your room situation is! Get me this info, and I'll throw some more suggestions your way.
You're proabably alright with the Krell chioces overall, and I'd concentrate on what you're going to do for speakers. Those will have the biggest sonic impact on your overall sound, as far as equipment goes. So get that right, for YOUR room, and you'll be way ahead of the game. As a rule, Diappolito, higher sensitivity, or even powerd/active speakers will tend to have strong advantages to maximizing the sound the mixing engineer intended you to hear with movies!!! The problem/challenge with most commercially available home audio speakers is that they're not designed to properly take advantage of what's capable from a strong dynamic movie sound track...they're usually designed to play some nice lower dynamic music only stuff! Going the route of speakers that do what good THX type speakers will do, and better, will get you better results overall! There's some very very good non THX high end choices to consider out there butj, again, depends. So, tell me about the room, and I'll make some suggetions. Audioalexander
Good advice, thank you! My room size is 19x14. Ceilings are 8.9. My objective is not only to get great HT, but to get even better sounding music then I already have. I don't have any problem getting rid of the Aragon and Thiels. I am looking to make sure that my main front speakers do both tasks great.
I agree, match the timber of the speakers by using the same brand at least for the front three. I use a B&W setup with 804's for the front, HTM1 for the center, 4 CDMSNT surrounds and a Velodyne sub. I have been very happy with it and using the CDM series as surrounds saved me about $2400. All of your choices are great. Good luck
I also have the same problem. Have Aerial 10Ts Had VT100 MK11 CAT Ult.very lively sound. Went to powermaster 2000 Encore pro. VERY VERY LAID BACK. any ideas would be great. Thanks.
I'd keep the Aragon 4004. I've owned an Aragon 8008,8002 & 4004, Proceed HPA, and now own a California Audio Labs MCA 2500. It's amazing how well the 4004 still competes with the newer amps. What you will hear with the 8008 series is lower bass. The 4004 is flat down to 20hz and the 8008 flat down to 5hz. The Krell will give you about a 10% improvement over the 4004. I'd use it for my rear channels and buy a Krell for the front three channels. Both amps were designed by the same man so they are a close match. I don't really care for Aerials. I think the B&W Natilus series is much better.
Hello Patrick (and a Happy New Year to you):

Welcome to "Audiogon". We are glad to have you as a new member of the family. You are right about one thing. We take our audio (or home theater???) very seriously here at "Audiogon". Also, what I like about "Audiogon" is that sometimes, posters may disagree with other posters. But it is done in a classy and dignified sort of way, and that would be the way that I would like for it to be. We can agree or disagree without retorting to insults or flame wars or what have you. And in the end, that makes for strong and constructive debate. This is why I love THIS site. I have been here almost a year now myself. And like you, I too wonder why I haven't found out about this site a lot sooner than I did.

But anyway....... Now....... On to your question.

For speakers......... if you have recently picked up an Ariel Acoustics CC3 center channel to begin building your home theater system with, then why not complement the CC3 with a pair of Ariel Acoustics 10t's for the front and then use your Thiels for rear channel duty for now, until you can find (or can be able to afford) a pair of suitable Ariel Acoustics speakers for the surround sound duties???? You see, the trick here is that in order to make the audio portion of the home theater experience as seemless as possible, it is imperitive that you buy all of your speakers from the same manufacturer for the sake of maintaining timbreal (is that a word??? could someone help me out here?!?!?!?!) continuety, or otherwise, your expensive investment would be nothing more than home theater mix match. And for the money that you look like you're looking to spend, that would spell disaster. For me to spend that kind of money on a home theater system, only to have it to sound no better (wait!!!!!! I mean "not as good as") than a good inexpensive "mid-fi" system????? Well, let's just say that THAT would make me sick to my stomach. Too bad that Ariel Acoustics do not make any subwoofers. Because if they did, then I would advise you to look into that as well. Now, for a suitable subwoofer to match the speaker array that I have perscribed above, I think that either of your proposed choices are excellent choices indeed. But if it were my money, then I would lean toward the REL Storm III. The REL would be excellent for both, music listening and for home theater (not that I am knocking the Revel B-15).

What amplifiers you should buy will depend heavily on the speakers you decide to buy, so that in itself will dictate the decision for you. But if it were me, if I were to go with the Ariel Acoustics speaker array, then more than likely, I would lean toward Krell amplification, whereas if I were to go with a home theater speaker system array based on and built around the Dynaudio Contour 3.3, I would lean toward the Aragon amplification system then. Only difference here is that I would keep the Aragon 4004 (which is a stereo amp, if I could recall correctly) and pair it up with a three channel version of THAT same amp.

For the DVD Player??? Great choice. The Pioneer Elite DV-37 is an excellent DVD Player. I have one myself. I am turned on by its "value for money" persuesion as well as its versatility. It is affordable enough to be used in a more modest, but high quality home theater system such as the one that I have, but yet, it is good enough to be the front end of a multi kilobuck audio/video system such as the one you are putting together. But I am curious about one thing though. Have you looked at or consider more expensive DVD Players as well?? If you are spending the kind of money you are spending, I would at least be looking into the idea of adding (and using) such a player.

And lastly, will you be using a standard NSTC type of display?? Or will you be using a HDTV display as well?? Also, will this be a RPTV??? Or will you be using a plasma instead of a RPTV??

Once again, welcome to Audiogon, and good luck with assembling your system. There is no other experience like it in the world, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything else. It's a great way to have fun.

Thanks all, for your great input! This has been quite the learning experience... Just when I thought I had a piece figured out, I ended up going back to start! The good news is that I haven't made any "major", in my opinion, mistakes yet... Although E. Alexander might give me a bit of grief! Just kidding... Hopefully I can get him to set this beast up properly for me!

This is what I have acquired so far: The Krell HTS II, Revel Studios, piano black with piano black panels, not comemrcially avialable, hand made specifically for CES (got them from their Northridge campus, great story!) and the Aerial CC3 (previously owned, can always sell it, but the Revel is a bit large for my setup!). I'm probably going to go with the Krell 200a/5, because they look great with the HTS... I know I might be sounding a little feminine here, but "chicks" dig that! Especially here in Newport Beach!!! I will get rid of all my old gear, but use the Thiels for the rears as an interim solution. I also have a Sony 36 XBR 250, which will stay for now. I'm trying to decide on DVD/CD now. I also like the idea of a jukebox for disc storage. Price is always a consideration, and my acquistion objectives are close to 50% of retail. Thanks again for all your thoughts!
Best wishes for the New Year!