To be honest, I haven’t really spent much money on my home theatre setup in about seven years or so. But for a while there, I was into fairly decent home audio equipment. That’s not to say I don’t do the odd update from time to time, because I do: last year I purchased a HD-DVD player, and more recently an Apple TV, the former of which was a rather poor investment (although it performs quite well as a basic upsampling DVD player).
My current home setup consists of the following. In terms of speakers, I’ve never been big on home theatre, and have always tried to have my system focus more on stereo audio instead. Shortly after starting my first job out in Ottawa, I received a pretty hefty bonus in exchange for giving up about six months of my life crawling around clean rooms and setting up fiber optic equipment. Given that I was fresh out of school, and hadn’t really spent any money in five years (due to being in school), I decided to buy myself something I would really enjoy: a home audio system. My budget at the time was around $500 for the fronts, and I originally had my eyes set on a pair of Energy speakers. But after hearing a pair of Klipsch RF-3 reference speakers in a high-end audio store, I just had to have them. So I saved a little while longer and picked up these bad boys for around $1200.
They are, without a doubt, one of the nicest pairs of speakers I have ever listened to, especially for vocals. The day I picked them up, my friend Mike gave me a lift in his truck with my other friend Jan, and we hauled them down to a room I was renting in Nepean. We spent most of that night just sitting on the floor listening to them.
Purchased at the same time was the receiver I am currently using, the Denon AVR-2801. It was one of about four receivers I was interested in at the time, and I picked it primarily because I thought I would get into home theatre to a larger extent (something I’ve never done).
At that point, I had used up my entire budget, so I couldn’t afford any other speakers. Despite the RF3 speakers being rather large and having a decent bass response, it was always my goal to purchase a subwoofer. So prior to a big house warming party I had a few years ago, I picked up a Mission down firing subwoofer.
One thing to note is that the sensitivity of my speakers is around 98dB/W/m. What that means is that when the RF3s are driven with 1 watt of power, they will produce 98dB of sound at a distance of 1 meter from the speaker (typical consumer speakers are around 89dB/W/m). That’s damn loud, and one of the reasons that Klipsch speakers are often paired with tube amplifiers (which are generally lower power than solid state amplifiers). What that also means is that I can basically blow the doors off of my apartment with my 90 watts per channel. In fact, the volume indicator goes from -60dB up to +30dB. I typically listen to it around -30dB, and have only ever approached 0dB once. At that level, the neighbors down the street came and asked me to turn it down, so I have no idea what would happen if I ever went into that extra 30dB of headroom. Prior to being arrested for disturbing the peace, I would most likely lose my hearing in its entirety.
It’s a fairly sweet setup, and even though I don’t listen to music as much as I used to, I sure do enjoy sitting on the couch with the lights down and listening to music into the wee hours of the night. I’ve regretted a lot of purchases in my life, but I’ve never regretted a single dollar I put into my stereo system.