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HSU HB-1 MK2. Best $300 bookshelves I have ever heard.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Edit I want to add that there is a noticeable difference from cd to cd. You can really tell which ones are well done and the ones which are poorly done. This is, to me, a vital sign of a great speaker or headphone. If everything sounds the same, that is not good. You may end up hating your favorite band but hey, we all have to pay a price for realism.

HSU HB1 Mk2 Speaker Review

I agree with everything in that review. They are great speakers. The voicing is on a higher level than even the Skiing Ninja X-LS Encores I had. Those X-LS did very well in a $1000 and under shootout. They were also about $900 new. Not as much low end obviously but with a sub? Nice and clear. Even in the very tight constraints I have my pair setup in. There is TREMENDOUS separation and detail here. Not brightened tricks with tweeters trying to fool deafened old dudes into thinking they are detail monsters. They have a great, natural sounding voice to the mids and highs that I only hear in my Rocket 550 MKIIs. The 550s are much more forward though. I sit 6-8' back from those.

Please note that these speakers were demoed with an Onkyo 506 receiver and entry level cd player plugged into the wall with basic cables. They are a budget dream.

These speakers are like a good Stax in terms of speed, clarity, detail. Except the sound stage is tremendous in comparison.

I have had Totem Mites, Rainmakers, Usher S520, Ninja Modded X-LS, and a few other good, entry level bookshelves. None of them compare in terms of overall sq. The X-LS had more bass. That is it.

They are working fine as nearfield monitors but sound great when I move back to about 6 ft. They are about 35" apart and 40" from the wall at a height of 48".

That center channel speaker is just a prop for the TV atm. The setup is 2.1 not 3.1.

You need a sub for these. My The Speaker Company 250 sub is still being tuned in as is everything. I need to find the sweet spot still but the system is two weeks old.

It is apparent that I can live with these speakers for a long time though. Except for Planars, I cannot imagine a more realistic sounding speaker on a budget.

No bitching about my cables and lack of finish. I just slapped it together and am busy as heck so LAY OFF! lol
That weird thing on the right is my xbox 360. It broke so I fixed it. Runs better now! Plus, it glows in the dark. Cool.


post #2 of 29
A paper cone woofer isn't gonna be Stax like in speed, clarity, or detail
Nice wallpaper
post #3 of 29
Going to order these in maple finish soon. I'm thinking my setup will be:

ALAC/FLAC > USB Fubar II > Harmon Kardon 3490 > Xiangsheng H-80BIII > HSU HB-1 MK2

I'm undecided on the sub but will for sure get one. Which speaker stands would be appropriate for these?

By the way I heard some Magnepan MG12s over the weekend and am also considering these. Time will tell.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post
A paper cone woofer isn't gonna be Stax like in speed, clarity, or detail
Nice wallpaper
You would be very surprised how close it is man. They really remind me of my Lambda Stax which Bluto has now. He and headphoneaddict had a hard time hearing a difference b/w those and the higher end Stax btw.

Regardless, for the $$? These are silly good speakers.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleDavid218 View Post
Going to order these in maple finish soon. I'm thinking my setup will be:

ALAC/FLAC > USB Fubar II > Harmon Kardon 3490 > Xiangsheng H-80BIII > HSU HB-1 MK2

I'm undecided on the sub but will for sure get one. Which speaker stands would be appropriate for these?

By the way I heard some Magnepan MG12s over the weekend and am also considering these. Time will tell.
The Maggies are probably better. The reason I did not get a pair is b/c my room is a nightmare for acoustics and I wanted/needed a nearfield setup to avoid most of the issues.

Speaker stands are a good ? I obviously built my own. I had to due to the height required. A pair of good 48" stands cost more than the speakers as far as I could see.

Feel free to call HSU. They are very nice and helpful. I believe most are family? Anyway, they know what they are talking about over there. The company has survived as an internet only entity since the early 1990s. That takes some serious dedication and know how. The quality of the product and service has to be top shelf to do that.

For instance, TSC makes great budget gear. They have also messed up every one of my orders except for the T250. So their shipping is an issue. The rest of it is good but bad shipping will kill a company in terms of costs and pissing the customer off.

As far as a sub goes, depends on the budget right? I am certain the sub I got is the best one going for the price. However, HSU does make amazing subs too. I would have gone with them but they are 2-3X more for their nicer models and I wanted a sub that could go into the low 20s for HT/gaming. The T250 sub I got for $220 shipped hits so hard that I must use it in a nearfield capacity. Otherwise, the entire room shakes so bad that all you hear are the windows flexing so hard they might break. I am getting an Auralex subDude asap lol.

Anyway, imo, the best subs going under $1000 are HSU. Under $400 is TSC. Av123 is still in too much trouble for me to recommend them but they sure as heck make a good sub too.

Mine is the best budget sub but it is still kind of directional. I mean that you can tell where the bass is coming from atm. I will continue to tweak it but so far I can sometimes tell that the sub is beside me.

Oh and for setup of a sub? Place the sub in your listening position, play some tunes or movie, farts, whatever, and move around the room. Find the spot where the bass sounds the best and try and move the sub there. Not always possible but it does work best.
post #6 of 29
With that horn how are these in the brightness department? For those of use that might prefer speakers of the more mellow silk-dome tweeter variety, if you follow me. (Got mah ah on some VA Haydn's).
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
That's just it. They play to the recording. If I listen to something well recorded and smooth; that's what I get. Very solid. They are not bright.

Ok, so for instance, take Led Zepplin "In my Time of Dying". Can be a bright sounding song on a bright speaker. Silk domes sound great with it.

On these, you hear the distinction of the microphone as much as you hear his voice. In other words, you hear what the interaction with the mike sounds like.

Utterly accurate sound for this cheap. Like a Fostex 4.5" Full range in a decent mid tower enclosure. But with more midrange presence and greater extension both directions.

Just what my mind is telling me. Could be off a bit.
post #8 of 29
Vanns.com has the Energy RC10 for $300.00/pair shipped. Have you considered those?

A 71 pound receiver?
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
The RC10 does not match up well. The HB-1s are one of those rare overachievers which compare to much more expensive speakers. The Energy line is a good one overall and excellent for their entry level value. The HB-1 is just a far more resolving speaker than anything I have heard under $2k and not a Planar.

You just will not get a better bookshelf or small area speaker for the $$. They have not done anything wrong yet. Just understand that they are meant to be used with a decent sub so the cost is rather more than $300. More like $600. If you wanted some stand alone 2.0 bookshelves, these are not the ones.

My receiver has a really hefty 5 channel amp in it. Built like a tank and a half lol. Real bitch to move though.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Well, I have them positioned better now and they are burnt in a bit more.

Simply ridiculous how good they are. How source dependent too btw. Be warned, bad in = bad out. Well recorded songs like Dire Straits Six Blade Knife sound amazingly clean and dynamic. There just is not much missing. I would love to try different amps and dac combos with these just to be able to hear the differences.

Atm I am using my laptop on battery to usb input of my receiver. Using the receivers dac, which appears to be an upscaling dac? It says re-master in the OSD options. Not sure if I like that or straight from the laptop better. Seems a bit smoother and blacker with the re-master option on.

Anyway, these simply kill. If you want a great 2.1 setup, these with the TSC 250 sub will give you every bit of the sound from top to bottom. They do not have a sound signature per say. Perhaps a bit constrained by my nearfield setup in terms of sound stage. It is like having a mix of a K1000 dynamics, Lambda Stax speed and clarity and Jenna 780s sweet low end. All without headphone hair!

Cheers.
post #11 of 29
How do you think these speakers would do for a home karaoke system?

I'm planning to get these along with the STF-2 sub. 100% music. Don't need something extremely loud but definitely wants something precise and accurate... but at a budget (less than $1k total). These would go into a 14' x 20' room.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yeah they have a huge sweetspot and response is just as accurate as it gets. Only the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 might be a better speaker and it is twice as much. The 340 is more sensitive though and that means at low volumes it has better response. For karaoke? Who does that at low volume lol. Yes. Get them. They have an amazing sound stage and detail levels are fantastic.
post #13 of 29
spacemanspliff I do not see a headphone amp, did you give up on them?
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspliff View Post
The RC10 does not match up well. The HB-1s are one of those rare overachievers which compare to much more expensive speakers.
In what way does it not match up? I thought the RC10 was a superb speaker even when I had one at its full price of $600, comparing to some more expensive speakers. For $300, the RC10 is a "must try" at least. Tremendously smooth and neutral. How about the imaging? the RC10 imaged like crazy, very 3D-like with loads of depth, and extremely liquid midrange with no obvious resonances.

Otherwise, this speaker seems promising. If/when I get to hear this for myself, I'm going to hold you to your claims though, and will be comparing these to speakers in my house that are a lot more expensive
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
hmmm. the rc10 did not get reviewed well from what i saw. the tower and bookshelf energys i have heard all did well but i never heard anything captivating. maybe it was the setup. still, there is something going on with these in the you are there sound category that i dig. at the beach this week on my phone. forgive tbe brevity and grammer. try them. they are a bargain for small to medium setups on a budget. entry fi but with zazz! lol
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › HSU HB-1 MK2. Best $300 bookshelves I have ever heard.