I know anyone reading this will be looking because they found a used pair somewhere. For around $150, if they're in good shape, they'll be a great choice.
I bought these speakers from Best Buy around 2000. They were just sitting on the floor all by their lonesome saying "buy me". Someone had returned them, and the store didn't even have a space to put them on the shelf.
Since then, I've moved about 7 times (more or less). They've traveled thousands of miles, been knocked over by drunk party guests, been knocked over by cats, and the grills partially broken.
I've only ever powered them by ~300W receivers. All in all, they would only have been putting out 50W per channel max. I once dragged them out for a wedding receiption in a hall, because no one planned for music. They filled the hall, and I was actually requested to turn the volume down.
When set up in a 6.1 or 7.1 setup, they sound amazing. Like some others have said, the woofers aren't subwoofers. They provide a great low sound, but you need a good sub to do the job right. In a couple houses now (like I said, I've moved a lot), the theater with decent center, surround, and a sub, and a good projector, it's better than sitting in a movie theater. Well, that's the goal of every home theater, isn't it?
"True Audiophiles" have shown me their system, and are always impressed by mine with these speakers. I've never been willing to part with them.
The only reason I found this site tonight is because I was searching Google to see if I could find a set of replacement front grills. There are 6 plastic pins that hold them on, and over the years 3 or 4 pins each have broken. The damned cats keep pulling the grills off. At least they never touched the speakers.
I suspect I'll be keeping these for an awful long time.
this is one of the better "low end" speakers i have heard in a long time...bought these for my third home theatre..have incredible speakers in my other rooms...pair of bic venturi (from when they were good) also a pair of dynalab..all 3 speakers are almost the same size while the yanaha is the only pair with anything bigger than an 8 inch woofer..highs are no-where near the capability of the bic venturi's....but since when new they were $900 a piece..none too shocked..the dnyalab is probably also a tad cleaner in the upper end....however the big difference is the packaging...the bic and dyna's are both paired with a 10 inch powered sub...even then i think the yamaha's (which it is true....MUCH better when bi-amped) provide better bass..but then it is 2 15's versus one 10 in the other 2 rooms..the power equipment makes a huge difference in the capability of these speakers...the bi-amping is via a technics sada-10n....with the sub output ran to a NAD 2155...this particular receiver (one of the best "bargain" receivers on the planet) has a plethora of options that curtail the need for an exterior crossover...i used the owners manual for all of 10 minutes and came up with a crossover frequency and decibel level that works for the room i have them in..for action movies...i prefer these over the dynalabs...but for a movie that is mostly dialog and clarity is a must (such as shawshank redemption) the bic venturi's kill these...but total equipment price (audio component wise) is rather startling...the whole dollar amount paired with these yamaha's is well less than a $1000..where the total audio component price for the room with the bic's is well over $3000....the dynalab comes in somewhere around $1500...so this can be used as a sample case for you....if you can find a pair of these and your on a budget...there is nothing close to these for the price....but just as always...spending more....gets you more
Let my qualify my "audiophile" description as "budget audiophile," i.e. looking for great sound reproduction I can afford on a college student's budget. With that in mind, I couldn't be happier with these speakers. They far surpassed any expectations I had for them considering how little Yamaha sold them for. I got them in the spring of 2000, so I've had them nearly 6 years now and I think they may even sound better now than they did new. They pretty much do everything: I own only these two towers, and they are my music, home theater, computer, and electric guitar & bass speakers, as well as being the monitors for my home music studio. Everyone seems to believe these speakers need to be bi-amped, but I've never felt the need to spend money on any extra equipment for them. A standard connection to my receiver gives me more volume than I could ever need, and more bass than my friends get out of their powered subs. I've read reviews saying 1738's don't respond below 30Hz. I can't measure an exact cutoff point, but I play my bass through them and can play a low A at 27Hz without any loss of volume, so I think it's quite possible for them to go lower. They're hooked up to a sony STR-DE845 Receiver, and I have more (and clearer) bass than many home theater setups I've heard, and without ever even turning up the receiver's bass levels all the way.
the last reviewer is correct about the necessity of having an EQ to crossover the 15's on these. bi-amped, equalized and properly tuned, these will certainly be some of the better speakers you're likely to hear---in any price range. are there clearer speakers out there? sure. however, consider the cost to obtain something NOTICEABLY better. not to mention, even if you had something just a wee bit clearer, unless they were powered towers with a pretty big sub in each cabinet, you'd still be majorly lacking in the bass department vs these when bi-amped properly. i have a 10" sub in conjunction with the 15's and most systems simply can't compare with that kind of low-end output. that is unless you really want to go out and buy 3 or 4 decent powered subs (or 2 insanely expensive ones) and flood your living space with a bunch of extra subwoofer separates. that is the main reason i haven't thought of upgrading these; they still sound great after all this time and with the added convenience of the 15's it's tough to justify going out and spending $1000 or more for a set of speakers that may sound slightly more detailed but ultimately can't hit as hard. in all honesty i'll say this-if u have a set of these but have never bi-amped them and spent much time fine-tuning their sound, u may as well not bother complaining about them because you're not coming close to experiencing their full potential anyways. it's alot like complaining about how bad your car runs when u only have 2 tires on it.
After owning these speakers for nearly 4 years now, I feel comfortable in posting this review. I've compared them against Advent Legacy II's & Heritage speakers, Acoustic Research Performance Series, and found them to be quite capable for H/T. And in some instances Music as well. But you must have power to drive these speakers. Rated nominally at 120 watts each, music power (read as peak power rating) 240 watts per channel. Unlike popular beliefs, the majority of the power isn't going to the big 15" subwoofer.
After emailing yamaha for answers, I discovered the breakdown to be aproximately 150 to 180 wpc going to the upper freq drivers (remember this is a 4 way speaker) and the big shielded woofer is only rated to handle between 45-60 wpc.
And simply straight bi-amping the LF doesn't work properly. The crossover virtually sends all freqs to the LF driver which muddys the LFE signals put out by any decent amplifier.
Solution? I installed a Numark 2600 adjustable gain equalizer between my H/K AVR8000 & my PA-2000 (which supplies power to the LF) rated at 100 wpc with hcc. (Most likely this figure jumps to 140-160 wpc when you factor in a 6 ohm load verses 8 ohms)
With the equalizer disabled the system sounds awful, sending everything but the kitchen sink into the LF driver, but when you activate the psuedo-crossover eq I've installed, the LF really cleans up, and kicks some major bass!! I've set the crossover point around 120 Hz (everything below 120 boosted, everything above 120 attenuated) Gain controls are vital depending on the music or sound selected.
This leaves all 125 wpc (rated @ 8 ohms by H/K) so in all likely event probably closer to 150-175 wpc @ 6 Ohms, to drive the 3 remaining drivers in the HF region.
The result, what everyone else has been saying. These speakers sound warm and laidback. Not harsh or overly bright, but tonality and voicing is very smooth and natural in character. The sound staging isn't perfect, but then again these speakers are narrow, and probably should be slightly toed (angled) towards the sweet spot of main listening area. Mine face straight ahead & are at least 8 feet apart, with the woofers facing out towards the room's corners. Otherwise the bass would cause my equipment to resonate and this would not be desireable.
To get an idea of just how these speakers differ from my other speakers, I typically use these for listening/watching DVD's that are DD 5.1 (higher compression) and mostly with music videos or concerts.
I also listen to CD's & MP-3's thru these jewels as well. However, when I put on an older source like a tape, record, or some earlier mastered music selection, I switch in my Advent's to brighten things up. (Sort of like low beams & hi beams) For Movies, especially THX style action, the Yams are just fine. But when I want to watch/listen to some detailed material, I like to augment the AS-1738's with some more transparent speakers. I've heard the analogy made that clean/good electronics require a smooth more laid back sounding speaker, while an older tube type amp requires a more detailed and in your face type of speaker (like Klipsch).
So with that in mind, these Yamahas when properly wired with heavy 12 awg, bi-amped (equalized) low freq signals will provide smooth and easy to enjoy sound for hours on end.
In short, I could listen to the Yamahas for many hours and not leave with ringing in my ears. However, the Advents & AR's I listen to can't make the same claim.
On the other hand, if you want a highly voiced sound staged speaker that envelops you with it's warmth, I's say these speakers can do so. (Provided, you have the electronics to back them up)
In closing let me just say, that I owned these speakers for several years, before I upgraded my electronics to adequately power these speakers. I'm glad I waited, because the amps make a HUGE difference in how a speaker ultimately sounds!! Since I paid only $400 or so (from Best Buy) because they were an open box item, I feel very comfortable in awarding 5 stars on both counts. If I were comparing them to AR-1's or NHT, 2.4's I'd be knocking 1 or 2 stars off the Yams, but since I'm not, for the money, they're a GREAT BUY! Remember to Bi-Amp and EQ the LF or you'll not be happy and most likely come here to complain....