Speakers, Switchers, Kuro

Decisions, Decisions
I want to get a new pair of main speakers for my Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V receiver. I can't decide between the Klipsch RF-83 and the Polk RTi A9. Is one better than the other?

Brandon Eli

Home Theater reviewed the RF-83 and RTi A9, but the reviews were conducted by different people, so no direct comparison can be made that way. Each reviewer liked the corresponding speakers very much, though Tom Norton thought the Polks were a bit bright. I don't think you can go wrong either way, but it would be a huge benefit if you could audition both before buying. At least read both reviews to see if either one has some characteristic you would prefer—or prefer to avoid.

Hit the Switch!
My Gefen Home Theater Scaler Plus, vintage December 2007, has finally died and I am not going to send it back to the manufacturer for repairs—again. I need an HDMI switcher with a minimum of four inputs, and I'm not sure if I really need upscaling any more. I have a Sony PS3 for Blu-Ray, an HDMI VCR/DVD burner, and an AppleTV to send to one available HDMI input on my Panasonic TH-58PZ700U plasma TV.

I have a great Parasound power pmp (HCA-1206), so I don’t need a receiver, but I am looking to replace my old Parasound preamplifiers (PSP-1500 and PDD-1500) and surround processor (PSP-1500 THX Surround Processor) connected by a SCSI cable! My budget is pretty flexible, and I expect to spend $1000 or thereabouts.

Warren Tripp, MD

I agree that you don't need a scaler in the switcher. We've been using an Accell 4-in/8-out HDMI switcher/distribution amp in the studio, which has worked very well. That company also makes a 4x1 switcher.

However, if you're going to replace the preamp and surround processor, you probably don't even need an HDMI switcher. Everyone around here really likes the Integra DHC-9.9 pre/pro ($2000); see the review here. The Integra provides four HDMI inputs and full surround processing, which would solve both of your problems.

Best in Class
I've been ready to finish my media room for some time, and I've always wanted a Pioneer Elite PRO-151FD plasma TV. With Pioneer getting out of the TV business and newer technology hitting the market (Panasonic, Samsung), what is the best large flat-screen TV (55 inches and above) available today? Does the Elite still rule, or has the competition caught up with or even surpassed Pioneer?

Wallace Johnsboen

In my opinion, the Pioneer Elite Kuro is still the best flat-panel picture you can get. Panasonic is getting close, and Samsung TVs are normally great as well, but I still think that neither beats a Pioneer Kuro. I'm very sad that they will soon be unavailable.

If you have a home-theater question, please send it to scott.wilkinson@sorc.com.

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COMMENTS
Don Holt's picture

I have a Pioneer Receiver, Bluray and Plazma Kuro (60) all Elite. My audio is Linn and I don't think they can be beat. The speakers are bi-amped with each seperate speaker in the tower having its' own amp. The surrounds and center have their own and the sub is internally amped.To say the least I am extremely pleased with Linn. The amps in the Receiver I am using for external exterior speaker and I feed a flat line to my house intercom.Don from Yorba Linda

Johnston's picture

Yeah you can't beat a Kuro. I have the non-Elite and love it. I know the colors aren't 100% accurate but the blacks and shadow detail are just unbelievable. If you can afford the Elite 60", I'd take that over any LED-backlighted LCD.Only downside imo is the power consumption and in a small room you'd feel the heat very fast. Considering you're looking for the best display though I doubt power consumption is a concern for you and I doubt your room is small.

Dan's picture

This is for Brandon Eli.Have you considered Definitive Technology Mythos ST system?Mr. Wilkinson reviewed the ST system and he was impressed. Based on Mr. Wilkinson's and other reviews I bought a pair of the Mythos ST for the front left and right and the Mythos Ten for the center channels. I think you will also be greatly impressed with them. These speakers play loudly with large soundstage and the bass is quick and tight. Oh, since the STs come with their own powered subwoofers, you don't need to purchase a subwoofer and maybe you can use the extra money to get a pair of the smaller Mythos STS for the surround. If you purchase one pair each of the Mythos ST and Mythos STS, you'll have four subwoofers! Your theater room will definitely rock. I think your Pioneer Elite SC-27 AVR would match well with these speakers. No matter what you choose to buy, good luck with your speaker purchase and I hope you'll have many great times with your system.

Harry Brener's picture

Brandon, you might also consider Energy RC-50 or RC-70 speakers with an RC-LCR center. Currently, Vanns.com has the RC-50 in the (real wood veneer) cherry finish at $399 each (half price). Read reviews of the RC series speakers befor you buy! You'll be amazed!

mark's picture

Nice review,I may have to buy these to try them out. Have u guy's review hsu speakers yet? the hb-1mk2 and the matching center? id like to read your reviews on them :)

Tim's picture

Wallace - I was in the same boat as you. I saw the Pioneer Kuro Elites, and was very impressed, however you cannot find them anymore. I ended up going with the new Panasonic V10, and I couldn't be happier. The differences between these two sets are nearly undetectable to everybody except the most decerning eye. And even then, unless you saw the 2 sets next to each other, or had some measurement equipment, I'd say 99.99% of people would never appreciate the difference.Just for reference, I grew up around music and quality sound systems all my life. My brother has a killer Pioneer Elite CD player/reciever running through high end JBL towers. My father has a McIntosh CD/Pre-amp/Amplifier system running through KEF Reference towers. My father's system cost 10X what my brothers did, and all the little graphs and numbers say it's better. But playing the same thing - I cannot tell you which one sounds better.Same thing goes with these 2 TVs.

DeepPurple23's picture

You CAN still find the Kuro Elites, it's just that most of the places are on-line as stores clear out their stock. Interestingly enough the prices have gone UP since there are less places to get them. I got my Pro-151 for $4,300 from Abt in Feb (better than non Elite). Now the average price is still around $4,500. I guess demand is still there. :) Personally, I LOVE the TV, we also have a LG, Fujitsu, and my Dad has the LED Samsung. I'll take the Elite every day of the week and twice on Sunday. :)

CJ's picture

Warren, I would also consider looking into the NAD T175 preamp/processor. It is not only current w/4x1 HDMI, the latest Audyssey & HD audio formats from both Dolby & DTS, but it is also a modular card based architecture. By looking at your current equipment, you sound like someone who is willing to pay a little more for a better product. If so, why not have the ability to change cards when new stuff comes down the pike (a-la-computer)to minimize obsolescence?

shad's picture

Hi Scott, My dilemma; I am looking at purchasing a new flat panel Plasma TV. First,why have you not reviewed or rated the new Panasonic Plasma's in the TC-PV 10 line?Specifically the TC-P58V 10 which I am seriously considering? Are the V 10 series sets better quality? Second, I am concerned with the statements that if buying a Plasma above 50" you aresacrificing or losing alot of picture quality??? The TC-P58V10 is obviously more than 50"s in sizeand am concerned about this/picture quality. I would very much like to purchase a larger size plasma(50"+) to get more theater effect but not if the quality will not be there!? I have a room size of approximately 16' by 22' and we currently sit about 8-10 feet from our SonyXBR 36" CRT set. We have high end audio equipment such as Wilson Audio,We will be adding the new Oppo BlueRay player with the new TV.Any and all thoughts and advice would be very much appreciated,particularly in relation to above question

Matt's picture

Hi Scott, I have a bose lifestyle 25 series 2 that I purchased in May02. I now have a Samsung 52" LCD HDTV and a PS3(blueray). The Lifestyle 25 dosen't have HDMI inputs so I am running coax from my TV to the surround sound. Based on some of your comments on Bose systems, I cannot decide if I should upgrade to a newer Bose system (Bose will give me 25% off on new V30), or try to sell it and get a quality HTIB or other system to complement my set up. Would I be downgrading if I exchange a bose for somthing else? I live in a small condo so space is an issue. Thanks in advance for your valued advice!

MS's picture

I have a Pioneer SC-27 received and SACD player. I can only get the SACD to play out of the front two speakers. I am using analog out to Multichannel in. Is there a settign on the receiver that I need to turn on to get the SACD quality?

Bill's picture

MS,have you looked at the SACD, to see if it is a SACD 2 channel, or a SACD 5 channel CD? that may be the problem you're running into. not all SACDs are 5 channels driven.

Greg's picture

Hi ScottI have a Yamaha RX-V2600 receiver. I have (2) sets of external speakers I use for music on my Deck and dining room. I run them off the "B" speaker output through a switcher box. It seems I lose volume when using those speakers. I was thinking of using the Zone 2 amp but they caution about going through a "passive" selector box. what is that and is there an "active" selector box that would work? what do you suggest?thanks

Robert's picture

Considering buying either the Pioneer elite 23 or the 1019. What's the difference? It seems the elite only puts out 110watts per channel and the 1019 puts out 115 watts per channel. Should I be concerned about 5 watts per channel (using either the BW 683's or Klipch Rf58's)? Are the features about the same?

Douglas Fitzpatrick's picture

Douglas I have enjoyed my M&K LCR-750THX 5.1 speaker system (bought 2001) for many years now and want to upgrade my Z11MKTV 4 ohm tweeters with an M&K tweeter that will have higher quality mids and high frequencies without loosing the matched system as far as both tweeters having the same roll-off characteristics with the same sensitivity, I'm just looking for (M&K tweeter) more smoother, warmer and better detailed tweeters. I wish there was a way to findout the roll-off characteristics and sensitivity of M&K speakers/tweeters!Thanks for any recommendations, Douglas.

Mike White's picture

If I had to choose between the M&K or Klipsch, I would go with the Klipsch for several reasons. Most Klipsch are 8 ohm nominal so will be much easier on your receiver/amplifier. There is no real advantage to 4 ohm speakers and they make your receiver/amplifier run much hotter and wear out sooner. The 4 ohm speakers are louder with less power but that isn't any real advantage if you have decent equipment. Klipsch is in great financial condition so replacement parts and support will be available. I believe M&K recently had some challenges in that respect.

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